Music, emotion, and autobiographical memory: They’re playing your song
Very long-term memory for popular music was investigated. Older and younger adults listened to 20-sec excerpts of popular songs drawn from across the 20th century. The subjects gave emotionality and preference ratings and tried to name the title, artist, and year of popularity for each excerpt. They also performed a cued memory test for the lyrics. The older adults’ emotionality ratings were highest for songs from their youth; they remembered more about these songs, as well. However, the stimuli failed to cue many autobiographical memories of specific events. Further analyses revealed that the older adults were less likely than the younger adults to retrieve multiple attributes of a song together (i.e., title and artist) and that there was a significant positive correlation between emotion and memory, especially for the older adults. These results have implications for research on long-term memory, as well as on the relationship between emotion and memory.
KeywordsYoung Adult Retention Interval Autobiographical Memory General Period Popular Music
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bahrick, H. P. (1983). The cognitive map of a city—50 years of learning and memory. In G. H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 17, pp. 125–163). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Bahrick, H. P. (1984a). Memory of people. In J. E. Harris & P. E. Morris (Eds.),Everyday memory actions and absentmindedness (pp. 19–34). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Conway, M. A., &Rubin, D. C. (1993). The structure of autobiographical memories. In A. F. Collins, S. E. Gathercole, M. A. Conway, & P. E. Morris (Eds.),Theories of memory (pp. 103–137). Hove, U.K.: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Crovitz, H. F., &Schiffman, H. (1974). Frequency of episodic memories as a function of their age.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,4, 517–518.Google Scholar
- Elrod, B. C. (1994).Your hit parade & American top ten hits: A weekby-week guide to the nation’s favorite music, 1935–1994. Ann Arbor, MI: Popular Culture.Google Scholar
- Heuer, F., &Reisberg, D. (1992). In S.-Å. Christianson (Ed.),Handbook of emotion and memory: Research and theory (pp. 151–180). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Rubin, D. C. (1995).Memory in oral traditions: The cognitive psychology of epic, ballads, and counting-out rhymes. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wallace, W. T., & Schulkind, M. D. (1999).Structural and substantive processing of text. Manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
- West, R. L., &Berry, J. M. (1994). Age declines in memory selfefficacy: General or limited to particular tasks and measures? In J. D. Sinnott (Ed.),Handbook of adult lifespan learning (pp. 426–445). Westport, CT: Greenwood.Google Scholar
- Whitburn, J. (1993).Billboard Top 1000 Songs, 1955–1992. Milwaukee, WI: Leonard.Google Scholar