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The classification of involuntary musical imagery: the case for earworms

Williams, T. I. ORCID: (2015) The classification of involuntary musical imagery: the case for earworms. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain, 25 (1). pp. 5-13. ISSN 0275-3987

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/pmu0000082


Involuntary musical imagery (INMI) is the subject of much recent research interest. INMI covers a number of experience types such as musical obsessions and musical hallucinations. One type of experience has been called earworms, for which the literature provides a number of definitions. In this paper we consider the origins of the term earworm in the German language literature and compare that usage with the English language literature. We consider the published literature on earworms and conclude that there is merit in distinguishing between earworms and other types of types of involuntary musical imagery described in the scientific literature: e.g. musical hallucinations, musical obsessions. We also describe other experiences that can be considered under the term INMI. The aim of future research could be to ascertain similarities and differences between types of INMI with a view to refining the classification scheme proposed here.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:40630
Publisher:American Psychological Association


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