Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Animation, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

Earworms: Those songs that get stuck in your head - Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

  • 1,022,193 Views
  • 19,908 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

Have you ever been waiting in line at the grocery store, innocently perusing the magazine rack, when a song pops into your head? Not the whole song, but a fragment of it that plays and replays until you find yourself unloading the vegetables in time to the beat? Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis explores earworms — a cognitive phenomenon that plagues over 90% of people at least once a week.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis
  • Director Outis
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Still want more information on why that song gets stuck in your head ALL DAY? How often does this happen to people? Visit the Earworm Project at Goldsmiths, University of London for more insight into this phenomenon. Is there something all earworms have in common? Still perplexed? Listen to the Science Friday interview with Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis on why songs get stuck in our head. A song stuck in someone’s head for twelve years? Visit the Radiolab story on earworms featuring Oliver Sacks, Diana Deutsch, and Tim Griffiths and listen to this story and others. Can you get rid of earworms somehow? Is there a “cure”? Talk of the Nation featuring Victoria Williamson might just give you some ideas on ridding yourself of that earworm.

Can you identify the catchiest tune? The Hooked on Music Project, led by John Ashley Burgoyne and Henkjan Honing, seeks to learn what makes some music catchy. Play along and see if you agree with the other participants and help by participating in some “citizen science” at the same time!

Mark Twain’s short story, A Literary Nightmare, describes his encounter with an earworm in 1876! Read it and find out how he rid himself of an earworm by “infecting” another person!

What is music cognition? Sound like something you may want to find out more about? Follow these music cognition blogs: Henkjan Honing’s Music Matters, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis’s Looking at Listening, and Victoria Williamson’s Music Psychology Blog.

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis
  • Director Outis
  • Composer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

Log In to Take or Create a Lesson

Log In to participate

Please Log In or Register to Apply

Please Log in to Access Leader Resources

If you have already logged into ted.com click Log In to verify your authentication. Click Register if you need to create a free TED-Ed account.
Log In    Register

Enter your name

Your name and responses will be shared with TED Ed.

To track your work across TED-Ed over time,Register or Login instead.