music and memories, concert

The human brain and how it relates to music, or more specifically, how music and memories are intertwined, has been a hot topic as of late. The spread of investigation on the matter of music and memories seems to be all inclusive, ranging from Toronto’s Alzheimer’s Society and their quest to aid dementia patients to the new studies aimed at understanding how your teenage taste forms your musical preference for life.

It should be no surprise, then, that the latest news revolving around music and the brain is tied to music and memories yet again. Earlier this month, Professor Catherine Loveday delivered a lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine’s 2018 Brain Series lectures that talked about this connection all scientists can’t seem to stop studying.

As a professor of psychology, Loveday “is now investigating how memories of music are central to our sense of self, imagination, emotional state and social functioning.” Simply put, she’s looking into why a familiar song can take you back to the time when you first heard it and connect you to the emotions you were feeling.

During late adolescence and early adulthood, or between ages 10-30, brains are at their sharpest and personally identity is being formed. This means the first time you fall in love, or the first time you drive, or other monumental landmarks in aging occur, and these emotions can be evoked by strong emotional ties we associate with music from the same era. It’s significant to note large life events in which music is played, such as funerals and weddings, occur during this time frame as well.

Additionally, individuals often experience a “cascading reminiscence bump,” which means young people could frequently recall their parents’ and grandparents favorite music and songs in addition to their own.

What all does it mean? The brain is a tricky subject matter, so there’s much to be researched and discovered, but it’s safe to say: in your young adulthood, your memories are closely tied to your emotions and your life events. If you’re going to be remembering those tunes for the rest of your life, you better choose what you listen to carefully!