Ear and Now

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati recently released a study of what consumer psychologist James Kellaris terms “earworms.” What are earworms? Those songs that get stuck in your head.

Kellaris has also researched what genre of on-hold music makes time seem to go faster.

While the recent study is more descriptive than prescriptive — 98% of people have gotten jingles lodged in their memory; musicians and the compulsive are more prone to experience earworms — the concept fascinates me. How can you write songs so catchy that it creates its own buzz?

Perhaps we should ask S.P. Balasubramaniam and Suvarnalata, A.B. Banjo Patterson, or the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest.