Why you can’t stop listening to the same song again and again?

What really happens in your mind, when you listen to the song, say a latest number,   At your peak musical experience you go into  a state of transcendence, of dissolved boundaries where they seemed to escape the limitations of their bodies and become one with the sounds they were hearing. These very deep and moving experiences can be partially explained by the shift in attention and the heightened sense of involvement brought about by repetition. Even if you delete it from the playlist and change the track, you will listen to a song that is similar to the one you have been hooked, it really doesn’t make a lot of difference. (here is an experiment that proves this! – Play It Again And Again, Sam)

You just can’t escape this and this is why. Psychologists calls it mere exposure effect – Mere Exposure Effect – Socially Psyched. To get a sense of how the process works, there’s a very simple trick you can try. Ask an indulgent friend to pick a word – water, for example – and keep saying it to you for a couple minutes. You will gradually experience a curious detachment between the sounds and their meaning. As the word’s meaning becomes less and less accessible, aspects of the sound become oddly salient – idiosyncrasies of pronunciation, the abrupt end of the last syllable, for example – Water becomes wate. The simple act of repetition makes a new way of listening possible, a more direct confrontation with the sensory attributes of the word itself.

Few spoken utterances contain this irresistible connection between one part and the next. And when we do want bits of speech to be tightly bound in this way say for example,  if we are memorising a list for an examination, Say the Prime Ministers of India – try and set it to music and you will find that you will memorise it much better.

Anthropologists might feel that they are on familiar ground here, because it is now understood that rituals – by which I mean stereotyped sequences of actions like going round an idol in a temple– also harness the power of repetition to concentrate the mind on immediate sensory details rather than broader practicalities.  This is precisely the way that repetition in music works to make the nuanced, expressive elements of the sound increasingly available, and to make a participatory tendency – a tendency to move or sing along – more irresistible.Given these similarities, it should be no surprise that many rituals actually depend on music- Say if you are in India, Swaying left to right,  while singing Bhajans for example

Repetition plays with Human mind and there is no way to avoid it, you will just find another familiar piece of music and you will get hooked on to it. Take a look into your recently played list on iTunes you will just find a few songs, repeated over and over again as in the image below!


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