Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Young adults reminisce about music from before their time

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Music has an uncanny way of bringing us back to a specific point in time, and each generation seems to have its own opinions about which tunes will live on as classics. Young adults today are fond of and have an emotional connection to the music that was popular for their parents' generation, according to new research.

Music has an uncanny way of bringing us back to a specific point in time, and each generation seems to have its own opinions about which tunes will live on as classics. New research suggests that young adults today are fond of and have an emotional connection to the music that was popular for their parents' generation.

Related Articles


"Music transmitted from generation to generation shapes autobiographical memories, preferences, and emotional responses, a phenomenon we call cascading 'reminiscence bumps,'" explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Carol Lynne Krumhansl of Cornell University. "These new findings point to the impact of music in childhood and likely reflect the prevalence of music in the home environment."

The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveals that while songs that were popular in our early 20s seem to have the greatest lasting emotional impact, music that was popular during our parents' younger days also evokes vivid memories.

To explore the connection between autobiographical memories and musical memories, Krumhansl and Justin Zupnick of the University of California, Santa Cruz asked 62 college-age participants to listen to two top Billboard hits per year from 1955 to 2009.

The researchers wanted to see which periods of music were most memorable for the participants, which songs conjured up the strongest feelings, and which ones made the participants happy, sad, energized, or nostalgic. In addition, participants were asked whether they remembered listening to the song by themselves, with their parents, or amongst friends.

The data revealed that participants' personal memories associated with songs increased steadily as they got older, from birth until the present day. This finding makes sense -- we recall more recent songs better, ascribe memories to them more easily, and feel a stronger emotional connection with them.

But the more surprising finding -- one which the researchers didn't expect to see -- was a drastic bump in memories, recognition, perceived quality, liking, and emotional connection with the music that was popular in the early 1980s, when the participants' parents were about 20-25 years old. That is, participants seemed to demonstrate a particular affinity for the songs their parents were listening to as young adults.

Previous research has shown that the music we encounter during late adolescence and early adulthood has the greatest impact on our lives. But these findings suggest that the music played throughout childhood can also leave a lasting impact.

And there was another, albeit smaller, 'reminiscence bump' for the music of the 1960s -- more than two decades before the participants were born. Krumhansl and Zupnick speculate that reminiscence for this music could have been transmitted from the participants' grandparents, who would have been in their 20s or 30s in the 1960s.

Another possibility -- one that might be favored by those of the Baby Boomer generation -- is that the music of the 1960s is truly of higher quality.

The researchers are launching a web-based survey to explore these questions further. The survey will include a century of top hits and Krumhansl and Zupnick hope that listeners of all ages, especially older adults, will participate.

"It will be fascinating to see if we can trace intergenerational influences back through more generations, better understand the 'sixties' bump,' and look for effects of the vast changes in music technology that have occurred over the last century," says Krumhansl.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. L. Krumhansl, J. A. Zupnick. Cascading Reminiscence Bumps in Popular Music. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797613486486

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Young adults reminisce about music from before their time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909093120.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, September 9). Young adults reminisce about music from before their time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909093120.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Young adults reminisce about music from before their time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909093120.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins