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November 25, 1963: The Beatles, from left to right Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison, performing on Late Scene Extra from Granada TV filmed in Manchester

Secret of a hit pop song revealed: scientists claim that the most catchy songs in the world contain the perfect balance between uncertainty and surprise

  • Researchers removed elements such as lyrics and melody from the songs
  • They then looked at the brain activity of 79 study participants who listened to them
  • Analysis of 80,000 agreements in 745 numbers in the US chart between 1958 and 1991
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The secret to writing a great pop song lies in hitting the right combination of uncertainty and surprise, according to an analysis of more than 700 pop songs.

Scientists have learned that a & # 39; good balance & # 39; between knowing what to expect and being charmed by the unexpected classic hits are – such as James Taylor & # 39; s Country Roads, Tina Turner & # 39; s What & # 39; s Love Got To Do It, or The Beatles & # 39; Ob -La -Di, Ob-La-Da – Sun & # 39; irresistibly enjoyable & # 39 ;.

Vincent Cheung, a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany and lead author of the study, said: & # 39; If we understand how music activates our pleasure system in the brain, this may explain why listening to music can help us feel better when we feel blue. & # 39;

November 25, 1963: The Beatles, from left to right Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison, performing on Late Scene Extra from Granada TV filmed in Manchester

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November 25, 1963: The Beatles, from left to right Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison, performing on Late Scene Extra from Granada TV filmed in Manchester

The team, consisting of scientists in Germany and Norway, analyzed 80,000 agreements between 1958 and 1991 in 745 tracks that were on the American & # 39; Hot 100 & # 39;

When a song or piece of music is played, the listener forms expectations about what sounds – or chords – are to be expected.

The American singer Tina Turner who performed at Wembley Arena, London, during her Break Every Rule Tour, 11 June 1987

The American singer Tina Turner who performed at Wembley Arena, London, during her Break Every Rule Tour, 11 June 1987

The American singer Tina Turner who performed at Wembley Arena, London, during her Break Every Rule Tour, 11 June 1987

Based on this insight, the team has developed a computer model to measure the predictive uncertainty and surprise in songs.

Mr. Cheung said: & # 39; Songs that we like are probably songs that strike a good balance between knowing what's going to happen and surprise us with something we didn't expect. & # 39;

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The researchers removed elements such as lyrics and melody from the songs – whereby only the chord progressions were retained – to exclude other associations with the songs that listeners might have had.

The team then looked at the brain activity of 79 study participants listening to the music, using a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

They discovered that brain activity increased in three regions – the amygdala, the hippocampus and the auditory cortex – when the subjects listened to music.

These regions play a role in the processing of emotions, learning and memory, and in the processing of sound, according to the researchers.

= B40 in concert at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK - December 18, 2017

= B40 in concert at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK - December 18, 2017

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Brian Travers UB40 in concert at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK – December 18, 2017

In the Cell Press magazine, the team wrote that they found that music evokes pleasure & # 39; by encouraging the listener to continuously generate and resolve expectations as the piece unfolds in time & # 39 ;.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that further research & # 39; the combined roles of uncertainty and surprise about people's appreciation for other art forms such as dance and film & # 39; could investigate.

Cheung said: & # 39; We think combining computer modeling and brain imaging offers great potential to not only better understand why we enjoy music, but also what it means to be human. & # 39;

MUSIC CAN CHANGE THE TASTE OF FOOD

Psychologist Charles Spence from the University of Oxford has previously investigated an effect that he & # 39; digital herbs & # 39; different musical genres can change the taste of your takeaway.

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The research showed that some music genres can improve the taste of a meal, while others seem to have an adverse effect on the experience.

Indie rock bands like the Arctic Monkeys supplement the spice in a curry.

Pop music such as the hit Sing by Ed Sheeran or the empty space of Taylor Swift is perfect for the Chinese.

Opera favorite Nessun dormitorya, and classical music, such as Vivaldi, enhanced the taste of Italian food.

Jazz, along with classics from Sinatra and Nina Simone were the best for Sushi and Thai Dance.

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Hip hop or has no effect or an adverse effect on the expected enjoyment of food.

But look away Justin Beiber fans: the hit song Baby by the Canadian star had an adverse effect on the enjoyment of almost every dish in the study.

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