It’s not wrong if you consider music a form of therapy because clearly, it can take us to our happy place. There is rarely anyone in this world who doesn’t have an obsession with music. And we’re also quick to associate it with emotions; some music brings sadness while some tears of joy.
If you’re someone like me who’s constantly surrounded with tunes, you’d understand how crucial a role it plays in going about a day. In my case, there’s barely an active hour that goes by without me listening to music; my playlist is always on. But the songs on my playlist dates back to the time when I was growing up, mostly 90s hits.
The truth is, I believe that the music when I was growing up was way better than what I hear today. Chances are, almost all of us feel the same.
We used to hear our elders say how good the music of their generation was. And they’d always complain about the music we were listening to as kids. Now that we’re older, we say the exact same thing to people of this generation.
But, have you ever wondered why? Was the music of our own generation that good or does it have something to do with ourselves? Well, according to a recent study, people’s emotions and memories are the reasons behind their obsession with music from their youth.
A study by The Conversation shows that music is closely connected with the emotions and memories that people carry. It triggers a part of us and makes us reminiscent of the past. Hence, it explains people’s obsession with music.
Numerous studies show that people tend to remember certain time periods in their lives better than others. One such autobiographical memory phenomenon is the “reminiscence bump”. Reminiscence Bump is a circumstance where people tend to recall memories from their youth (10 to 30 years old) to a large extent.
The autobiographical memory may contain several unconventional as well as self-defining experiences that are deep-rooted in our brains. A lot of times hormonal as well as biological changes can also affect our memories.
So, whenever you ask someone what their favorite record is, you probably won’t hear a recent song. Chances are, people will likely name a song that comes from their reminiscence bump period. However, does this mean that people’s obsession with music is also related to autobiographical memories? More likely, yes.
470 adults between ages 18-82 were a part of the research where researchers investigated the presence of “musical reminiscence bump”. Here, the investigation was carried out keeping three things in mind, “the degree to which the song was associated with autobiographical memories,” “how familiar the song was,” and, “how much the participants liked the song”.
The primary goal of the study was to understand how someone’s age when a song was popular, affects these three distinct, however, related concepts.
The participants had to choose from 111 pop songs and rate them of the three concepts. The songs were all released between 1950 to 2015 but they didn’t provide the audio for the songs.
The researchers discovered that the music that was popular during their adolescence period was both associated with more autobiographical memories and rated more familiar. The musical reminiscence bump peaked at around age 14, meaning the songs that charted when participants were 14 (on average) induced the most memories.
Additionally, the study also found that adults above 40 liked the songs from their generation more than others. However, it wasn’t the same with adults from 18-40. They rather preferred the music released before their birth.
It clearly suggests that people’s memories have a close connection with their obsession with music from their youth. However, it also shows that people intergenerationally value certain timeless music.