Wahrnehmung und Erleben von Ohrwürmern bei Musikstudierenden und Nicht-Musikstudierenden: Zusammenhänge mit Arbeitsgedächtnis, Tonhöhenvorstellung und musikalischer Erfahrenheit
Perception and Experience of Earworms in Music Students and Non-Music Students: Relations With Working Memory, Pitch Imagination, and Musical Experience

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Selina Janetschek
Klaus Frieler
Kai Lothwesen


The experience of involuntary musical imagery (earworm experience) is an everyday phenomenon that differs in frequency and subjective quality and may be strongly influenced by musical sophistication and expertise. An online survey was used to examine differences between music students and non-music students testing for relationships between earworm experience, working memory capacity, pitch imagination, and musical experience. The results of this quasi-experimental group study (N = 124) confirm that music students experience earworms more frequently than non-music students, but neither longer earworms nor longer lasting earworm episodes. Better working memory capacity is correlated with a longer duration of the earworm episodes but not with the frequency of earworm experiences or the length of the musical segments experienced as earworm. Finally, music students also tended to synchronize movements with an earworm to a greater extent than non-music students, which hints at a motoric component of
earworm phenomenon.

INMI; earworm; music students; working memory; musical sophistication; pitch imagination

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