Study: Why songs get stuck in your head

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Can’t get a song out of your head?

A new study found that the size and shape of a person's brain could influence who is more likely to get an "earworm" -- aka a song that gets stuck in your head -- CBS News reports.

Involuntary musical imagery has happened to most of us at one time or another, and could happen more often to those “who are constantly exposed to music,” according to CBS. It is also believed that certain personality traits, such as obsessive-compulsive or neurotic tendencies, can cause INMI to happen more often.

The authors of the study, published in Consciousness and Cognition, asked participants to explain their own problems with earworms and then scanned their brains with an MRI.

Nicolas Farrugia, leader of the study from Goldsmiths, University of London, said that the thickness of certain brain regions affects the frequency of INMI. These areas of the brain are Heschl’s Gyrus linked to auditory perception and musical memory, and right inferior frontal gyrus---linked to pitch memory.

The amount of brain tissue in the right medial temporal lobe could also affect the frequency of INMI because it helps people form memories and retrieve them, Farrugia said. This part of the brain can either make earworm better or worse.

“We did find a link between certain brain areas involved in music perception and music-evoked emotions and actually, emotions in general,” Farrugia said to CBS. “However, it is important to note that we cannot say that it is the cause of earworm.”

“It is just that the people with certain brain areas that were larger or smaller had more or less earworms, or more or less disturbing earworms,” Farrugia added.