VIC136H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter Podcasts Week 5: Involuntary Memory

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13 Feb 2016
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Podcasts for Week 5: Sticky Songs and Gossip
Podcast #1: “Sticky Songs”
In German, they’re called “earworms”, catchy songs that you can’t get out of your songs
Involuntary memory: when something in an environment that you don’t really need to be
paying attention but this memory can be accidentally triggered by a link that is almost a
domino effect
Somewhere down that line, a tune comes into your mind and it’s stuck there for a while
Scientists can tell if a tune is likely to be catchy; if you have longer notes and with smaller
jumps between notes, you’re more likely to create a “sticky tune” as it makes the music more
easily sung
In history, we’ve kept track of information in songs for many years due to the fact that they
were easy to remember; our brains were evolutionary made to remember these tunes
Sticky songs are the musical version of unwanted thoughts
Psychologists track musical and verbal stickiness to and find that 5-10% of the time, it’s nor
musical and due to the harmonic and melodic tendencies of music, it’s more likely to be
Paul McCartney has said that he intentionally didn’t want to read or write music because if it
doesn’t get stuck in his head, it’s not a good enough melody and moves on with his life
Podcast #2: “Gossip”
Talking about a particular person who isn’t present, new information that you can make some
kind of moral judgment about (you can disagree or agree with it), entertaining and irrestible
Rumour: interesting piece of news you really want to tell someone else which may be true or
People do this for a career as well; gossip columnists go out to parties and write down what
they hear
He seems to think men gossip more than women
When we were evolving, we lived in small groups and success depending on what others
were doing: who was cheating, who was going to be a good mate, etc. — AKA keeping up on
the private lives of others was extremely important in your own lives
Those of us who are here today are the descendents of these people who gossiped
Gossip came from women sitting in grooming circles talking about local and regional
“Gossip is the sword of the woman and she never lets it get rusty”
Hundreds of years ago, there were devices made to shut up a gossiper or someone who talked
too much — authorities tried to control what was being said, whispered
The Age of Shakespeare — there was no freedom, the government was listening to what
people were saying
We can gossip without speaking — we judge people constantly, we can make comments
through indirect gossip like subtweeting
Gossip can be deteriorating but it mostly is benign, it keeps people in line, you don’t want
people talking about you, you don’t want your reputation to suffer
The world is boring without gossip, it’s pleasant, it’s fun, it’s fresh
Gossip however is becoming a lot more vicious is because of the internet which allows
people to say things anonymously
We want to know dirt about people to get ahead — high class people, relatives, teachers, etc.