If you really wanna get a song stuck in your head, you gotta get with my friends the Spice Girls. The group’s 1996 debut single “Wannabe” is the world’s catchiest song, researchers in Holland say.
The University of Amsterdam has partnered with Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry to study what makes music so memorable. They recently launched Hooked on Music, an online interactive game that asks people to identify songs as quickly as possible based on a short clip.
Turns out people recognize “Wannabe” in an average of 2.29 seconds, according to the BBC.
If you made the mistake of Googling the song just now, you know it’s easy to get part of it stuck in your head, even if you don’t particularly enjoy the music. Scientists call these self-repeating song loops “ear worms.” But they don’t know much yet about why they happen — and how they’re affecting your brain.
More than 20,000 people have played Hooked on Music, the Dutch researchers say. Results from the first batch of data collected will be released this weekend at the Manchester Science Festival. The scientists hope their research will lead to breakthroughs for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
“There has already been some research that shows that if you can find the right piece of music, something that had a very strong meaning, playing that piece of music can be very therapeutic,” computational musicologist John Ashley Burgoyne told the BBC. “The challenge is figuring out what is the best piece of music.”
The top 10 catchiest songs, according to the Hooked on Music experiment, are:
1. Spice Girls, “Wannabe”
5. ABBA, “SOS”
Warning: These ear worms may come with some zig-a-zig-ah.