WATCH | The Baby Shark earworm that you ‘doo-doo’ not want to catch!
If you haven't heard the Baby Shark song‚ doo-doo yourself a favour and keep resisting the temptation to catch this popular earworm.
If you don't‚ you're likely to join millions of children and adults singing “doo-doo-doo” at their desks and in their homes.
Baby Shark is an earworm - a catchy piece of music that gets stuck on a person's mind long after the song stops playing - that has been riding the viral wave for close to three years. It is currently a hit in South Africa.
Created by Korean-based kids channel Pinkfong‚ Baby Shark has over 1.6-billion views on YouTube and has become one of the latest social media “challenges” that adults are dancing along to.
According to Pinkfong's website‚ "every day is a new adventure" - but for those who have heard Baby Shark‚ it's the same old song playing in their heads daily.
"The first thing we have to understand about the brain is that it likes patterns‚" explained Rob Jardine‚ head of the research at the NeuroLeadership Institute in Johannesburg.
“Things are easier to recall if we put a pattern to it. We like to think in patterns too - that’s what ‘doo-doo’ is. It creates a repeated pattern.”
Recalling through repetition is part of the secret for the song’s success. But the brain also loves novelty. "Having the different accents of the voices is quite novel. It’s the same reason why songs that often have a high-pitched hook or a different accent are catchy‚" said Jardine.
"If you think of Akon's Lonely‚ it’s a very high-pitched hook with the words ‘I'm so lonely’. That’s novel - and the brain loves novelty."
Believe it or not‚ you may have already developed an emotional attachment to Baby Shark.
"For some people‚ it can bring back the feeling of being a child again. It also talks about family members. There is a baby voice‚ a grandpa voice‚ a father voice‚" said Jardine.
“What we know in neuroscience is that memories that are attached to emotions are easier to recall. If you have an emotion attached to it‚ it's easier to recall. The more you recall something‚ the more it becomes hardwired and embedded.”
How can you rid yourself of this earworm? The bad news is that you can’t change the wiring in your brain. "One thing about the brain is that it's practically impossible to deconstruct old wiring‚ but very easy to construct new wiring - so find another song‚" suggested Jardine.
If it’s too late for you to pick a new song‚ Jardine had this advice: "All you can do now is prevent triggers from recalling it‚ which sounds almost impossible because we live in an interconnected world. The thing I would do is form a new association with the song. Every time it comes on‚ think of something else."
If you're a parent or teacher of a toddler‚ Baby Shark may be stuck in your head for a long time. Lou Steer‚ the principal of a playschool in Durban‚ said while parents tire of the song after hearing it a few 100 times‚ toddlers just can't get enough of it.
"Developmentally‚ children from the age of two love to constantly repeat the same words‚ phrases and songs. So they most definitely will continue to love and repeat it‚ way after the parents have tired of it‚" said Steer‚ who hears the song often.
"Sometimes a child will just start singing it out of the blue‚ with all her friends joining in!"