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Psychologists have explored why we sometimes like listening to the same song on repeat

09 March 2018

It’s that song. Again. The one they play over, and over, and over.

It might be your roommate, child, or colleague. The year I shared a flat with my brother, it was Worst Comes To Worst thrice daily. What are the properties of the songs that drive some people to repeatedly listen to them over and over? A new article in Psychology of Music explores the tunes that just won’t quit.

In the Autumn of 2013, the research team led by Frederick Conrad of the University of Michigan asked 204 men and women, mostly in their 30s or younger, what song they were “listening to most often these days”.

Participants mentioned mostly pop and rock songs, but also rap, country, jazz and reggae, with only 11 songs picked by more than one listener (the most frequently mentioned were Get Lucky, Royals, and Blurred Lines, all of which were hits in the year of the survey).


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