BBC reports that scientists at Dartmouth College have discovered how and where music works in the brain–specifically what makes a catchy tune catch, what sets the hook in your mind.

[The research team] played volunteers tunes with snippets cut out.

They scanned for brain activity and found it centred in the auditory cortex – which handles information from ears.

When familiar tunes played, the cortex activity continued during the blanks – and the volunteers indeed said they still mentally “heard” the tunes.

When listeners were exposed to snipped songs that were unfamiliar to them, they “heard” the silences. But when familiar songs, “Pink Panther theme” and “Satisfaction,” were played the brain filled in the silences so that the listeners were unaware of anything missing.

Once exposed to a catchy song, you are hooked in the auditory cortex. But do you then have to pay 99 cents to iTunes?