June 8, 2015

EP. 76 — Weird Ways Repeating Sounds Hack the Human Mind

Why is it that if you hear a pop song like “I Kissed A Girl” more than two or three times, you feel like you’re going insane, but when you play an old video game you can listen to the music for hours? Some of the song loops from Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog are only around a minute long, yet they never annoy or distract as you try to finish a level. 

The brain does weird things in response to repetition. As you’ll hear in the episode, a UCSD professor found that if you hear a repeating loop of almost any series of spoken words, your mind will begin to hear that input as music.

This week on the podcast, Jack O’Brien is joined by Cracked editors Dan O’Brien and Alex Schmidt to discuss how the human mind seeks out repetition, turns that repetition into music, and how video games have turned this science into an unsung art form.

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