Song stuck in your head? The secret to getting rid of “earworms” could be a stick of gum

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Tired of having a catchy song stuck in your head?

New research claims the secret to getting rid of ‘earworms’ may be as easy as chewing a stick of gum.

According to a new study conducted by psychologists at the University of Reading in the U.K., chewing helps you focus your attention away from the catchy melody or lyrics.

The University of Reading researchers said in a news release, one study found 15% of people classify their earworms as “disturbing.”

The study was published in the quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology earlier this month. Researchers asked 98 participants to listen to catchy songs like Maroon 5’s ‘Payphone’ and ‘Play Hard’ by David Guetta. Three minutes after listening to the song, participants were then asked to hit a button whenever the song popped into their head. During this time, participants tapped their finger on the table, chewed gum or did nothing.

Researchers found that people who chewed gum after listening to the songs “heard” the song playing in their mind a third less often than those who were not chewing gum.

According to researchers, learning how to reduce the occurrence of earworms may have implications for other types of intrusive thoughts, such as those that characterize psychological disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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