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Is People's Interest In Music Fleeting?

First Posted: Sep 26, 2016 03:41 AM EDT
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A lot of people claim that their passions include music - and for most, especially those who make a living out of notes and rhythm, this could be true. However, as older generations have thought over and over, music was just "better" in their day.

Looking at it this way - would the "soundtrack of your life" be the same this year as it was last? Or is there a sentimental attachment to it, like that epic road trip you had with your friends in college, or even have songs from long before that? Is there a genre of music that defines you and your personality?

How Stuff Works noted that this phenomenon is called "taste freeze" and it states that our musical tastes crystallize during our late adolescence to our early twenties, especially because this is a time where we have heightened emotional and social activities. In fact, the director of the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition, and Expertise from the McGill University, Daniel Levitin, said that 14 is the "magic age" for when people develop their musical tastes.

In an article in The New York Times, he wrote that "pubertal growth hormones make everything we're experiencing, including music, seem very important." The study was backed up by University of California professor, Peter Janata, who said that music can evoke powerful memories even for Alzheimer's patients, adding that music is strongly associated with emotional memories, especially those from their youth.

However, Janata doubts that this neural nostalgia can be strong enough to shape musical tastes over an entire lifetime. The taste freeze could be convincing enough, as shown by those past their twenties who declare that "music was better back in the day." But when you think of it, do you still listen to the music from your youth and do you still think of them as the "soundtracks of your life?"

Unsurprisingly, teens listen almost exclusively to the most popular songs and artists, but as they grow into their twenties, their interest in popular music drops steadily. By the time people get to their thirties, most people settle into music and artists that are not exactly mainstream popular anymore. But then again it all depends on popularity - The Echo Nest's Paul Lamere found that 64-year-olds can listen to Elvis Presley, but can still appreciate Bruno Mars - the same artist that their 13-year-old grandkids could be listening to.

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