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Want to block earworms from conscious awareness? B(u)y gum!

Beaman, C. P., Powell, K. and Rapley, E. (2015) Want to block earworms from conscious awareness? B(u)y gum! Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68 (6). pp. 1049-1057. ISSN 1747-0218

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1034142


Three experiments examine the role of articulatory motor planning in experiencing an involuntary musical recollection (an “earworm”). Experiment 1 shows that interfering with articulatory motor programming by chewing gum reduces both the number of voluntary and the number of involuntary—unwanted—musical thoughts. This is consistent with other findings that chewing gum interferes with voluntary processes such as recollections from verbal memory, the interpretation of ambiguous auditory images, and the scanning of familiar melodies, but is not predicted by theories of thought suppression, which assume that suppression is made more difficult by concurrent tasks or cognitive loads. Experiment 2 shows that chewing the gum affects the experience of “hearing” the music and cannot be ascribed to a general effect on thinking about a tune only in abstract terms. Experiment 3 confirms that the reduction of musical recollections by chewing gum is not the consequence of a general attentional or dual-task demand. The data support a link between articulatory motor programming and the appearance in consciousness of both voluntary and unwanted musical recollections.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:40114
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earworms, Auditory Imagery, Thought Suppression, Music Cognition, Short-Term Memory
Publisher:Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


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