When songs get stuck in your head.
There's nothing nicer than a tune playing in your head--until you can't turn it off. The phenomenon has spanned the ages. In 1882, Mark Twain wrote of an annoying "jingling rhyme" that became indelibly lodged in his mind until he passed the curse along to another victim. Research has helped define, but not ' explain, the experience. A recent study by the University of Cincinnati looked at the affliction, which the study's author, James Kellaris, calls earworms. Kellaris found that they bother some 98 percent of listeners at one time or another. The study found some common offenders: the KitKat jingle ("Gimme a break"], Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out," Queen's "We Will Rock You," the theme to "Mission: Impossible," "Y.M.C.A.," "Whoomp! [There It is]," and " The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Singing the song aloud can sometimes erase it. " It's a familiar pattern of itching and scratching," Kellaris says.