Saturday, October 19, 2013

Can't get it out of your head?

Imagine listening to a catchy tune. When do you nod your head and sing along? That's the hook, the most memorable part of the song, crafted by songwriters to stick in your head and exploited by DJs to get people onto the dance floor. Everyone knows a hook when they hear it, but scientists don't know why.

#Hooked was launched this week at Manchester Science Festival and will run until September 2014. During the Festival people can contribute their catchiest songs and stories to build the playlist and scientists will debate the science of what makes music catchy, from hooks, to earworms and hit songs. There will be a silent disco and shows about music with ‘Captain Hooked’ (see website for more details). Nominations for the playlist (which runs across all musical genres) will continue in the run up to the launch of the #Hooked game in early 2014.

#Hooked is an ambitious initiative of Dr Erinma Ochu, funded by a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship. She did an amazing job in bringing lots of people together as well as initiating a series of activities at the Manchester Science Museum around the simple idea of finding out what makes music catchy, an idea with a potential outreach far beyond that of basic music cognition research. The hooked-game will be launched in the Spring of 2014. And, if you can't wait, you can do the Hooked questionaire here or nominate your favorite song here.

Why does this matter? Well, the experiment is all about musical memory and as such might provide insights into long term memory and even failing memory, which could contribute to future Alzheimer's disease research. See video below for further motivation:

Click here to Participate!

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