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Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played
NPR ^ | September 06, 2013 | Nancy Shute

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.


TOPICS: History; Hobbies; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: memories; music; parents; psychology
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1 posted on 09/06/2013 2:28:34 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Ohhhh really, I’ve known this for years without any study.

Perhaps “known” isn’t the right phrase, “strongly suspected” might be better.


2 posted on 09/06/2013 2:29:53 PM PDT by FreedomStar3028
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To: nickcarraway

My children will never like “Ride of the Valkyries” regardless of the number of times I play it...


3 posted on 09/06/2013 2:30:44 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools)
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To: nickcarraway

It’s because today the music sucks.


4 posted on 09/06/2013 2:30:52 PM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: ViLaLuz

“It’s because today the music sucks.”

Ain’t that the truth.


5 posted on 09/06/2013 2:32:21 PM PDT by max americana (fired liberals in our company after the election, & laughed while they cried (true story))
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Did you ever take them to see Blues Brothers?
6 posted on 09/06/2013 2:32:35 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

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)


7 posted on 09/06/2013 2:34:00 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools)
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To: nickcarraway
I remember my folks listening to “When the Lights Come on Again” and getting teary eyed when I was a kid. I still love it.
8 posted on 09/06/2013 2:34:28 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama phones= Bread and circuits.)
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To: nickcarraway

“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.


9 posted on 09/06/2013 2:34:51 PM PDT by Cowboy Bob (Democrats: Robbing Peter to buy Paul's vote.)
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To: nickcarraway

Get them started on “Bombshell” by Powerman 5000.


10 posted on 09/06/2013 2:36:06 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
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To: nickcarraway

Topping the chart the month I was born.

Its been the ruin of many a poor boy and God, I know I’m one

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ptqd_the-house-of-the-rising-sun-1964_music?start=1


11 posted on 09/06/2013 2:36:34 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Cowboy Bob

“Jump” the anthem of the eighties!


12 posted on 09/06/2013 2:36:43 PM PDT by Sybeck1
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To: nickcarraway

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.


13 posted on 09/06/2013 2:38:02 PM PDT by ssaftler (Oh, hell YEAH!!!! This is absolutely Obama's fault)
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To: Sybeck1
There was one Jump by the Pointer Sisters and one by Van Halen. And probably others.
14 posted on 09/06/2013 2:39:47 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

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.


15 posted on 09/06/2013 2:40:35 PM PDT by deadrock (I am someone else.)
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To: nickcarraway

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.


16 posted on 09/06/2013 2:41:26 PM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: nickcarraway

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


17 posted on 09/06/2013 2:42:23 PM PDT by butterdezillion (,)
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To: deadrock

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......


18 posted on 09/06/2013 2:43:19 PM PDT by roostercogburn
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To: nickcarraway

Got a daughter, 17, who just discovered Led Zeppelin. I thought they were overplayed in MY day!


19 posted on 09/06/2013 2:46:26 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: roostercogburn

Don Henley is a burned-out socialist Obamite. Just so you know ...


20 posted on 09/06/2013 2:48:33 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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