Why Is Playing “Baby Shark” on Loop Considered A Torture?

by Kareena Dodeja
Why Is Playing “Baby Shark” on Loop Considered A Torture?

February 20, 2021

Listening to Baby Shark all day can be agonizing, and the court agrees! Two former employees at the Oklahoma County Jail and their supervisor were charged with a misdemeanour for forcing the inmates to listen to ‘Baby Shark’ on loop at a loud volume for a long period. They were charged on the counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy.
The investigators found that the employees forced the inmates to stand against a wall with their hands cuffed behind them for hours and made them listen to this song. This was considered brutal by the court.

"Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo” If that song wasn’t already stuck in your head, we’re betting it is now and will be there for some time.

What makes Baby Shark annoying?

The Baby Shark Song has become an internet sensation and is easy to get stuck inside our heads. It is catchy, easy to memorize with its repetitive lyrics and an upbeat tune. It can turn your day around in seconds!

The song enjoys over 7 billion views on Youtube, and 25 million people have clicked on the like button there! It is fun and colourful and genuinely makes you get up and dance. Kids are easily entertained by this bop and seem to love it. But, how did this one song capture audiences and babies all over the world? Earworms! Yes, you heard us right. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the earworm phenomenon.

The song and dance from your childhood is making a comeback thanks to Pinkfong, a South Korean children’s edutainment company that creates music, videos, stories and more for a global audience.

The Most Popular Earworms

According to the researchers, the most popular earworms as per the 3000 people they surveyed are: 


  1. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
  2. “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue
  3. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
  4. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye
  5. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
  6. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry
  7. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  8. “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga
  9. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga



Here Is What The Studies Suggest:

Another study in the British Journal of Psychology found that earworms aren’t problematic by people dealing with them but mostly by people who consider music important to them. Earworm starts by humming the tune and then turns into a loop in our brain.

In a study published in Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, it proved that among 12,420 Finnish internet users- around 91.7% have experienced earworms at least once a week. 

According to Margulis, music cognition research suggested that earworms have something to do with how music affects the brain’s motor cortex. Another reason why Baby Shark cannot get out of our head is because of the tune’s repetitive lyrics and fast tempo triggering the pleasure center of our brain. 

The catchiness of the song can increase dopamine in a child’s brain which makes them feel pleasure, according to Beatriz Illari, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music to The Daily Beast. 


Corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) has over 100 plant hosts and therefore has many common names, including tomato fruitworm and American cotton bollworm.

Earworms and their Impact

The repetitive lyrics and words such as mommy, daddy, grandpa, and grandpa create an emotional connection to children. Valorie Salimpoor, a scientific consultant in the article by The Daily Beast mentioned how children will have a positive connection with such music. Salimpoor explains how the catchy tempo targets the brainstem and other ancient brain systems in our brain and stimulates dopamine systems. 


It affects our brain as it is a brightly colored and visually captivating video. It has 2.2 billion views and counting on Youtube which makes it one of the most-watched videos of all time. Jimmy Kimmel joked that the creator should be put in prison because it is too catchy. 

Baby Shark makes adults want to yank their teeth while kids listen to the bop and do the cute little dances. Pinkfong’s Monkey Banana song has the same lyrics just with a monkey instead; the bop is ready to go viral. 



No matter how much the world is changing, one thing that can never change is our love for nursery rhymes. There is a reason why nursery rhymes have managed to stand the test of time.

Nursery Rhymes To Kill

There are other kid’s nursery rhymes that are excruciatingly catchy such as:


  1. “Lighter” from “Kids Diana Show”
  2. “Tooty Ta” 
  3. “Johny, Johny, Yes Papa”
  4. The “Barney & Friends” theme song 
  5. “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” by Ylvis 
  6. “The Duck Song” 
  7. “Teletubbies” theme song
  8. “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men
  9. “Da Coconut Song” by Ryan Cayabyab
  10. Anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks 

We got you covered with bops that you cannot get over!


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