Skip to comments.Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played
Posted on 09/06/2013 2:28:33 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Way back in the 1980s, were you the one playing "When Doves Cry" over and over? Well, don't be surprised if your kids wind up doing the same thing.
Young adults have strong positive memories of the music their parents loved when they were the same age, a study finds. That flies in the face of the cultural stereotype that children reject their parents' taste in music.
Participants in a study on musical memory didn't just say they remembered and loved the music that was popular in the early '80s, when their parents were young. They also loved the music of the '60s, which their grandparents may have been blasting while changing Mom's diapers. And the 20-year-olds of today liked the older songs as much as the new stuff they listen to with peers.
For real? "They would hear this music and say, 'Oh yeah, that's my parents' music,' with obvious fondness," says Carol Lynne Krumhansl, the psychology professor at Cornell University who led the study. The study was published online in the journal Psychological Science.
The scientists had been testing musical memory in an earlier study, and were surprised to find that college-age participants could identify older pop and rock songs just as quickly as the new stuff. Even more surprising, they liked the older stuff more. So the researchers decided to try to nail down what was happening, using clips from hits off Billboard lists from 1955 to 2009.
Top hits 1980-1984 from the study: can you name them? Playlist Transcript More than 60 student volunteers (average age 20) listened to short clips of the top two pop and rock songs for each year. The researchers quizzed them on which songs they recognized, how much they liked them and their emotional responses. They were also asked if they had memories associated with the songs and if those memories were from listening with parents, alone, or with others.
Earlier research has found that the music heard in late adolescence and early adulthood has the most impact and staying power through a person's life. So the researchers figured that today's 20-year-olds would be all about Rihanna and the Black Eyed Peas. Not so.
"We didn't have any idea" that young adults had strong personal memories of the music of the early 1980s, Krumhansl told Shots. She and her colleague, Justin Adam Zupnick of the University of California, Santa Cruz, were even more surprised to see the second "reminiscence bump" in emotion and memory for top hits from 1965 to 1969.
Young people have strong memories of music they heard growing up, especially the stuff their parents listened to when they were 20. Young people have strong memories of music they heard growing up, especially the stuff their parents listened to when they were 20.
Carol Lynne Krumhansl The connection to parents' music isn't entirely surprising. Music plays a central role in child rearing, both in the songs children are taught at home and in school and in those heard more informally as part of the home environment. The songs parents choose to listen to reflect their taste, their values, their era.
Music is a powerful cue for retrieving strong personal memories when you kissed that girl at summer camp; the blue polka-dot dress you wore to prom; how lonely you were freshman year.
And the human brain remembers music with extraordinary detail, unlike spoken words, in which people remember just the gist. After hearing less than a second of a song, people can "come up with the title and the artist," Krumhansl says. "They know the emotional content. They know the style."
The 1960s music may evoke strong memories in 20-somethings because of the quality, Krumhansl speculates. We are talking about The Beatles here. But the top pop songs of that era used in the study also included "The Ballad of the Green Berets," "To Sir with Love" and "Sugar Sugar," so maybe it's not just that.
Krumhansl thought the students might have memories of 60s music because it lives on as classic rock. But it turned out their memories came not from current listening, but from hearing it when they were younger.
Technology may also be a factor. The introduction of cassette tapes in the 1960s made music more ubiquitous, and the same tapes were played long after that decade ended. (Props to you parents still hanging on to those mixtapes.)
Next, Krumhansl wants to find out if other generations have the same experiences with emotional memory and music, and try to trace influences back through multiple generations. She's launching a Web-based survey that covers 100 years of pop hits, and welcomes public participation; check it out here.
And maybe play "Bette Davis Eyes" (No. 1 hit, 1981) while you do.
Ohhhh really, I’ve known this for years without any study.
Perhaps “known” isn’t the right phrase, “strongly suspected” might be better.
My children will never like “Ride of the Valkyries” regardless of the number of times I play it...
It’s because today the music sucks.
“Its because today the music sucks.”
Ain’t that the truth.
No, but I’m sure they have seen it on TV. Actually my 29 year old son likes a lot of the music from my college days. (middle to late 70s)
“When Doves Cry” made me cry...and my ears bleed! Surely the author could have come up with a better song to represent the ‘80s.
Get them started on “Bombshell” by Powerman 5000.
Topping the chart the month I was born.
Its been the ruin of many a poor boy and God, I know I’m one
“Jump” the anthem of the eighties!
I think part of this has to do with how your parents dealt with their music.
My parents grew up in the 30s and 40s, with the Dorsey brothers, Glenn Miller and those sorts of groups, and imparted much of their love of this to my brother and I. To this day, I still enjoy swing and some of its more modern derivatives. Most of today’s “music” makes me wanna vomit, though some country tunes are almost passable.
My in-laws, on the other hand, were not as much “into” the music of that era. As a result, my wife, her sister and the rest of their family, tend to “like” the music of the current period, as cRAPpy as it has become.
Young kids saying ‘your old music sucks’ is equal to older people saying that ‘ today’s music sucks.’ There is good and bad in both. Period.
LOL. I don’t think so. When I was a little kid, my dad used to get loaded and play Finnegan’s Wake by the Clancy Brothers over and over again. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to it again.
I credit Shrek with getting my kids interested. I can’t believe that my husband and I can start singing a song that fits in with a conversation and my kids join in. lol.
My boys especially like Boston but they play trumpet and trombone and kinda like swing and big band too. I think they just like musicality. It’s so funny to hear their playlist go from Boston to Pachelbel’s Canon. lol
My kids are going to see the Eagles with me in Tampa in November. Willingly. 14 year old son and 13 year old daughter.
They dig Hotel California, Heartache Tonight, Take it Easy, etc......
Got a daughter, 17, who just discovered Led Zeppelin. I thought they were overplayed in MY day!
Don Henley is a burned-out socialist Obamite. Just so you know ...
Can’t really say my parents’ musical interests (which were fairly minimal, actually) ever influenced me... even though my own tastes did veer towards ‘vintage’ very early on.
Starting when I was only five years old, I had a little phonograph. Neighborhood garage-sales is where my library of 45’s and 78’s came from. Never really got anything too contemporary. The few times I bought a “new” record at the dime-store, I always HATED it. Managed to get examples from just about every musical genre, from those garage-sales. Ultimately, by the time I first entered my teen years, my tastes were pretty solidified on vintage jazz and dance-bands. Neither of which were particularly popular with my parents.
Really could care less about his politics.
I just sit back and enjoy the the tunes.
Since my folks diod not have rock n roll, that was not true of us or may others in the boomer times.
Who the heck wanted to get down with Lawrence Welk, Mitch Miller or the Andrews sisters.
Yes there was a 40’s revival in the early 70’s that was mildly amusing but pfft...no way. My tastes are no where near what my folks swung to,,,and yes they did jitterbugging standards of the 40’s and pre rock 50’s.
Hence your Freeper handles based on a song by his backing band?
The "easy listening" stuff on the "beautiful music" station with all the violins ... not so much ...
Actually no, my Freeper handle was a spur of the moment set of words I put together without a thought of the song.
The AM 'top hits' station here in San Diego (The Mighty 690) played that song 2 times an hour for most of 1981. It makes me homicidal.
Your handle always makes me think of the early, turn-of-the-century Edison film “Cripple Creek Bar Room.”
My parents were foreign born, older than most in the sixties, and never listened to popular music. “It sounds like monkeys bashing trashcan lids.” I was shocked when I got in my friend’s car, and his mom was listening to Top 40. It rocked my world. I thought she was beyond cool.
“Kill the Wabbit, KILL THE WABBIT!”
—— They dig Hotel California -——
I consider HC a top 10 all-timer, but I also like “Boys of Summer.”
I asked my two teenage daughters which song they liked better. One rated it a toss-up. The other gave the edge to BOS.
LOL, I still overplay it to this day! Did you get or see their last release of the benefit concert they did in London about five year ago with Jason Bohnam on drums?
As a member of a working classic rock band I can attest to the fact that music from the 60s 70s an 80s appeals to all ages. It’s amazing when you see 70 year olds sharing the same dance floor as 20 somethings and all ages in between.
It’s really cool that the music seems kind of one size fits all and ageless. I guess classic rock really belongs to everyone.
Bless them! (Although I might make an exception for “Sweet Child.” I LOVE that riff!)
I can't imagine adults 30 and 40 years from now listening to today's crap..........
We sang Black Betty as a kid.
One of my students used to mock me about my love for Pavement. Now that’s all he listens to.
I used to think like you but there are some decent musicians out there.
They have been listening to The Who, Styx, Billy Joel, Marshal Tucker, Fleetwood Mac, America, The Call, the musicals "OLiver", "Oklahoma", "Singin' in the Rain" and a whole bunch of other eclectic stuff. It's fun watching them sing in the back seat of the car.
My Mom would lock me in the playpen in the living room. I’d start screaming “Usmic! Usmic!” It was the third word I’d “learned” after “Mama” and “Daddy.” She’d put a stack of Piano Boogie Woogie on the record player, and I’d shut up until the stack needed to be turned over, over, and over. And they could never figure out why I became a musician! As a guitarist, people ask me who my favorite musician is, and when I tell them “Albert Ammons” they get very confused! I have a large collection of Piano Boogie Woogie 78s, but if I play them in the evening, I can’t sleep that night, cuz I’m rockin’ out. “Usmic! Usmic!”
Oh oh! I shouldn’t have listened to that. I’ll need a sleeping pill tonight!
I hated the music my parents liked. It was awful elevator type music.
My kids love the music that I listened to. Of course, I liked upbeat rock-n-roll.
One of my daughters does. She loves classical!
My son can jam the power chords in Dirty Laundry on the guitar....
Greatest song by any Eagle during their solo careers. Still spot on 30 years later.