STUDY: The Catchiest Songs of All Time, According to Science

Computational musicologist John Ashley Burgoyne created an interactive online game, with the help of a team at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht, to determine a list of the catchiest songs of all time, according to science.

The device called Hooked On Music, developed as part of a year-long experiment by UK’s Museum of Science and Industry, contained of thousands of clips from hit songs from the ’40s to present day. CNET describes the four ways to play:

Recognise that Tune, where users had to hum along with the track, continuing when the sound dropped out and gauging whether they were still in time when the sound resumed; What’s the Hook, where users had to listen to two different clips from the same song and choose which clip was catchier; Time Trial, where users had to recognise as many songs as possible in three minutes; and In a Row, where users had to recognise as many songs in a row as they could.

Researchers analyzed data from 12,000 participants to create the following list of the catchiest songs. “Wannabe,” by the Spice Girls, took the top spot. See the runners-up below, and how long it took participants to recognized the tune:

1. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls – 2.29 seconds
2. “Mambo No. 5,” Lou Bega – 2.48 seconds
3. “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor – 2.62 seconds
4. “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga – 2.66 seconds
5. “SOS,” ABBA – 2.73 seconds
6. “Pretty Woman,” Roy Orbison – 2.73 seconds
7. “Beat It,” Michael Jackson – 2.80 seconds
8. “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston – 2.83 seconds
9. “Don’t You Want Me,” The Human League – 2.83 seconds
10. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith – 2.84 seconds
11. “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga – 2.88 seconds
12. “MMMbop,” Hanson – 2.89 seconds
13. “It’s Now or Never,” Elvis Presley – 2.91 seconds
14. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive – 2.94 seconds
15. “Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson – 2.97 seconds
16. “Karma Chameleon,” Culture Club – 2.99 seconds
17. “Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears – 2.99 seconds
18. “Devil in Disguise,” Elvis Presley – 3.01 seconds
19. “Rivers of Babylon,” Boney M – 3.03 seconds
20. “Candle in the Wind,” Elton John – 3.04 seconds

Mental Floss reports that the researchers hope to use this data to discover how musical memory works, which could have far-reaching positive effects for people with dementia.

For more information, read the full article at CNET.

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