Jan Van Balen

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With colleagues at the University of Amsterdam, we made the citizen science games Hooked! (NL) and #hookedonmusic (UK), which we developed for a research project on popular music and memory.

The first analysis of the Hooked! and #hookedonmusic data got some international coverage:

The Spice Girls’ debut hit, Wannabe, is the catchiest UK hit single, an online experiment has suggested. Participants recognised the song in 2.3 seconds, compared with an average of five seconds for other popular hits. – BBC

Three things made a song especially memorable: a repetitive melody (like the fourth catchiest song, Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”), “melodic conventionality” (“SOS” by Abba – fifth), and a prominent vocal (Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” – sixth). – New York Times

This project can be commended for teaming up public engagement, using popular and accessible platforms, with scientific discovery, encouraging a widespread interest in responding to a critical threat of the devastation caused by dementia, and perhaps even contributing to an invaluable discovery: that music can unlock memory in those who have no memory of themselves in the world. – The Lancet

The Hooked! team includes Ashley Burgoyne and Henkjan Honing at the University of Amsterdam Music Cognition Group, and Dimitrios Bountouridis, Frans Wiering and Remco Veltkamp at Utrecht University. #hookedonmusic was a collaboration with Manchester Science Festival and supported by the Wellcome Trust.