Ever Wondered Why You Never Forget Songs You Heard As A Teenager? This Is What The Science Says


Oh so that’s why I still jam to Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” from back in early 2000s

It’s no surprise that the music we hear in our teen years leaves a far more lasting impression than the music we hear now. I bet you can remember all the lyrics of a song you used to listen to in your teenage but won’t be able to remember the lyrics of a song you hear every day on the radio now. Researchers have found that our favorite music that we first heard between the ages of 13 – 19 form a “reminiscence bump” that leave the greatest impression on a person’s memory.

The study also shows that songs related to adolescence (starts playing Simple Plan’s “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare”) were found to be more memorable for the people than the ones they listened to in their thirties or any other age in life. And the interesting reason behind this is that, we tend to associate our own life experiences such as puberty, high school and first loves with these songs and they act like the soundtracks to our life for a “potent emotional experience”. (I don’t want to imagine what teenagers today who listen to Doja Cat and Cardi B would associate their life with)

The research including experts from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will be used to create tailor-made playlists for people suffering from dementia as a form of “receptive music therapy” to improve happiness and decrease stress and sadness. More than 150 participants in the study were played a selection of random popular songs from the year between 1945 to 2015 to see their reaction. Most of the participants recognized the songs they heard when they were between 13 and 19, while able to name six to eight songs on average. The patients might not be able to remember the names of their favorite songs but the playlists could help them reminisce their teenage years with their friends and family.

The research published in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare concluded that “music from this ‘reminiscence bump’ provides a rich source of retained music that should be tapped when creating playlists of meaningful music for people living with dementia.

An app from the charity “Music for my mind” has also been launched to help families create personalized playlists for their family members suffering from dementia based on music from their teenage years.


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