为什么某首歌会一直萦绕在你的脑海?


为什么某首歌会一直萦绕在你的脑海?
Earworms: Those songs that get stuck in your head - Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

你曾经是否在杂货店里排队等待
Have you ever been waiting in line at the grocery store,
漫不经心地翻阅着杂志 一首歌突然蹦进你的大脑
innocently perusing the magazine rack, when a song pops into your head?
不是整首歌曲
Not the whole song,
而是歌曲的一个片段 一直在你耳边循环播放
but a fragment of it that plays and replays
直到你发现自己取蔬菜的动作都在和着节拍
until you find yourself unloading the vegetables in time to the beat.
你已经受到耳虫的侵扰 而且不止你一人
You’ve been struck by an earworm, and you’re not alone.
超过90%的人每周至少受到一次耳虫的侵扰
Over 90 % of people are plagued by earworms at least once a week,
大约四分之一的人每天会经历数次耳虫
and about a quarter of people experience them several times a day.
它们倾向于在你不需要太多注意力的时候侵入
They tend to burrow in during tasks that don’t require much attention,
比如说在等待水煮沸的时候
say, when waiting on water to boil
或是在等待交通信号灯变灯的时候
or a traffic light to change.
耳虫现象是人类大脑里大谜团之一
This phenomenon is one of the mind’s great mysteries.
科学家们也不清楚为什么
Scientists don’t know exactly why
曲调会如此轻易地萦绕在我们的脑海
it’s so easy for tunes to get stuck in our heads.
从心理学的视角来看
From a psychological perspective,
耳虫是心理意象的一个例子
earworms are an example of mental imagery.
这种意象可以是视觉性的
This imagery can be visual,
比如当你闭上双眼 想象一辆红色的货车
like when you close your eyes and imagine a red wagon,
或者它可以是听觉性的
or it can be auditory,
比如当你想象婴儿哭闹的声音
like when you imagine the sound of a baby screaming,
或是油在锅里嗞嗞作响的声音
or oil sizzling in a pan.
耳虫是一种特殊形式的听觉意象
Earworms are a special form of auditory imagery
因为他们是无意识的
because they’re involuntary.
你不必堵住耳朵 尝试想象《是谁把狗放出来》这首歌
You don’t plug your ears and try to imagine”Who Let the Dogs Out,”
或者 好吧 你可能什么都不需要做
or, well, you probably don’t.
它就直接闯入并成为你的音乐背景
It just intrudes onto your mental soundscape
像是一名不速之客在你脑海中晃来晃去
and hangs around like an unwanted house guest.
耳虫是十分生动鲜明的
Earworms tend to be quite vivid
它们通常由一条旋律构成
and they’re normally made up of a tune,
而不是和声
rather than, say, harmonies.
耳虫的显著特征是它们倾向于在脑海中循环播放
A remarkable feature of earworms is their tendency to get stuck in a loop,
不断重复播放 长达几分钟或几小时之久
repeating again and again for minutes or hours.
同样显著的是 重复在触发耳虫时扮演的角色
Also remarkable is the role of repetition in sparking earworms.
当我们近期重复听某些歌 它们可能一直萦绕在你的脑海
Songs tend to get stuck when we listen to them recently and repeatedly.
如果是重复触发了耳虫现象
If repetition is such a trigger,
那么也许我们可以将耳虫的产生归罪给现代科技
then perhaps we can blame our earwormson modern technology.
过去的一百年见证了电子设备不可思议的激增
The last hundred years have seen an incredible proliferation of devices
它们能够帮助你重复听相同的内容
that help you listen to the same thing again and again.
如唱片 磁带 CD 或是流媒体文件
Records, cassettes, CDs, or streamed audio files.
这些技术真的带来某种独特且短暂的体验吗?
Have these technologies bread some kind of unique, contemporary experience,
耳虫只是二十世纪末期的产物吗?
and are earworms just a product of the late 20th century?
答案来自于一个意想不到的人
The answer comes from an unlikely source:
马克·吐温
Mark Twain.
1876年 正好是留声机被发明的前一年
In 1876, just one year before the phonograph was invented,
他在一篇短篇小说中想象出
he wrote a short story imagining a sinister takeover
整座小镇被一种不祥而押韵的叮当声所掌控
of an entire town by a rhyming jingle.
这篇短篇小说和上述其他内容
This reference, and others,
向我们说明了耳虫似乎是一种基本的心理现象
show us that earworms seem to be a basic psychological phenomenon,
或许录音手段让其变得更加严重
perhaps exacerbated by recording technology,
但它并不是本世纪的新事物
but not new to this century.
每一位伟大的历史人物 从莎士比亚到萨卡贾维亚
So yes, every great historical figure, from Shakespeare to Sacajawea,
可能也会有一首歌萦绕在他们的脑海里
may well have wandered around with a song stuck in their head.
除了音乐 很难想象还有其它侵扰意象
Besides music, it’s hard to think of another case of intrusive imagery
并且分布如此之广的案例
that’s so widespread.
为什么是音乐?
Why music?
为什么不是水彩画停留在我们脑海里?
Why don’t watercolors get stuck in our heads?
又或是墨西哥卷饼的味道?
Or the taste of cheesy taquitos?
一种理论认为与音乐在记忆中呈现的方式有关
One theory has to do with the way music is represented in memory.
当我们听着一首已知的歌曲时
When we listen to a song we know,
我们总是提前听到下一个我们预想的音符
we’re constantly hearing forward in time, anticipating the next note.
对我们来说 单独想起一个特定乐段是很难的
It’s hard for us to think about one particular musical moment in isolation.
如果我们想知道“你”的音调在“祝你生日快乐”的哪里位置
If we want to think about the pitch of the word”you” in “Happy Birthday,”
我们必须回到“祝”
we have to start back at “Happy”
然后开始唱 直到我们唱到“你”字
and sing through until we get to”you”.
这样看来 一条旋律有点类似于一种习惯
In this way, a tune is sort of like a habit.
就像一旦你开始系鞋带
Just like once you start tying your shoe,
在你系紧之前 你都处于不假思索的状态
you’re on automatic until you tighten the bow,
一旦想起一条旋律
once a tune is suggested
比如当某人说到“我的雨伞”
because, for example, someone says,”my umbrella,”
我们就会在脑海中重复播放
we have to play through
直到曲调达到一个自然的停止点
until it reaches a natural stopping point,
#埃拉 埃拉 埃拉#
“ella, ella, ella.”
但这很大程度上只是一种推测
But this is largely speculation.
我们仍然不能准确知道
The basic fact remains we don’t know
为什么我们这么容易受到耳虫的影响
exactly why we’re susceptible to earworms.
但是更好地认识耳虫
But understanding them better
能够给我们提供人类大脑运作的重要线索
could give us important clues to the workings of the human brain.
也许下一次我们会受到泰勒·斯威夫特歌曲的侵扰
Maybe the next time we’re plagued by a Taylor Swift tune
并且持续时间很长
that just won’t go away,
我们就将它作为一段科学之旅的起点
we’ll use it as the starting point for a scientific odyssey
它将解锁一些关于基本认知的重要谜团
that will unlock important mysteries about basic cognition.
如果没有的话 我们就忘了它吧
And if not, well, we can just shake it off.

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