Music Nostalgia and the Adolescent Brain

The article “Why Are We So Nostalgic for Music We Loved as Teenagers? ” by Mark Joseph Stern further emphasizes the point that the music we listen to as adolescents shapes our neural pathways and influences our preferences in the future. It elaborates on how music not only stimulates the prefrontal cortex of our brains, therefore creating memories but also triggers the frontostriatal cortex which releases dopamine and other pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters.

During adolescent development, our brains are changing and the songs we enjoy the most are encoded in our memories due to the strong emotional connections our brain makes with them. The surplus of pubertal hormones adolescents experience heighten their emotions and encode strong emotional memory linked to music.

However, the article also addresses another psychological aspect of why our musical taste is so shaped by our adolescent years. It touches on how as people discover their identity throughout their adolescent years, music becomes a part of their self-image. Listening to music one loved during one’s teens and young adult years can allow one to go back in time and once again feel the joy and experience the memories connected to certain songs.

Overall, this article is a useful complement to the original article because it goes into further detail about how the songs listened to during one’s adolescent years influences their taste in music many years later.

Work Cited

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Why Are We So Nostalgic for Music We Loved as                   Teenagers?” Slate Magazine, Slate, 12 Aug. 2014.



One Reply to “Music Nostalgia and the Adolescent Brain”

  1. Hi Nicole,
    I almost picked this article as the target article but, as you know, opted for the NYTimes article. I like the focus on the idea that listening to music can be pleasurable and create strong emotional memories. However, not all music from my adolescence is pleasurable and so I’m curious about the discrimination that also occurs during adolescence, like why pop music is great for one person and hip-hop for another. Did this article make a comment to address this idea?

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