The everyday, involuntary imagining of music is commonplace. While this is not usually problematic, there is a need to support individuals who suffer from intrusive musical imagery. In this talk, I discuss a project testing the feasibility of a method to inhibit the initial development of so-called ‘earworms’. Building on research regarding intrusive thoughts (Akerman et al., 2020), the project studies variation in the familiarity of the music that we are exposed to in daily life, to ask what might be done to prevent music that is either known to us, or new to us, from developing into intrusive musical imagery.
Freya Bailes is an Associate Professor in Music Psychology at the University of Leeds. She has held international research positions at the Université de Bourgogne, Ohio State University, University of Canberra, and the MARCS Institute (Western Sydney University). Dr Bailes is currently an Associate Editor of the journal Music Perception, and a Co-Director of the Music for Healthy Lives: Research & Practice network. With research interests in both music cognition and music and wellbeing, she enjoys working at their intersection. Examples include research examining links between musical imagery and wellbeing, and leadership of an interdisciplinary project exploring sensory imagination and wellbeing.