Tag Archives: Teenagers

Reminiscence bumps in popular music

4 Dec

The reminiscence bump is the phenomenon of the superior memory we have for events in late adolescence and the early twenties. Here is a chart showing our memory for different periods of life:




I came across this interesting paper about reminiscence bumps in popular music. Here is the abstract:

“Autobiographical memories are disproportionately recalled for events in late adolescence and early adulthood, a phenomenon called the reminiscence bump. Previous studies on music have found autobiographical memories and life-long preferences for music from this period. In the present study, we probed young adults’ personal memories associated with top hits over 5-and-a-half decades, as well as the context of their memories and their recognition of, preference for, quality judgments of, and emotional reactions to that music. All these measures showed the typical increase for music released during the two decades of their lives. Unexpectedly, we found that the same measures peaked for the music of participants’ parents’ generation. This finding points to the impact of music in childhood and suggests that these results reflect the prevalence of music in the home environment. An earlier peak occurred for 1960s music, which may be explained by its quality or by its transmission through two generations. We refer to this pattern of musical cultural transmission over generations as cascading reminiscence bumps.”


Working memory and sexual risk taking in adolescents

29 Jun

Who says memory is unimportant? A recent paper in the journal Child Development reports “Stronger Working Memory Reduces Sexual Risk Taking in Adolescents, Even After Controlling for Parental Influences.” Here is the abstract:

“This study examined the prospective influence of adolescent working memory (WM) on changes in impulsivity and sexual risk taking and assessed whether this relation could be explained by confounding effects of parental influences. Data from 360 community adolescents (Mage = 13.5 ± 0.95 years; 52% female; 56% non-Hispanic White; low-mid socioeconomic status (SES); recruited from Philadelphia area in 2004–2005) were analyzed using structural equation modeling to predict changes in impulsivity and sexual risk taking over a 2-year follow-up, using baseline assessments of WM, parental monitoring, parental involvement, and SES. Stronger WM predicted reduced involvement in sexual risk taking at follow-up, effects channeled through changes in impulsivity dimensions of “acting without thinking” and “inability to delay gratification.” Parental variables had a protective influence on adolescent impulsivity and risk involvement, but the effects of WM operated independently of parental influences.”

An earlier study found a link between working memory and alcohol use:

“Early adolescent alcohol use may be a consequence of (pre-existing) weaknesses in working memory (WM) rather than a cause of it. Efforts to reduce early alcohol use should consider the distinct roles of different impulsivity dimensions, in addition to WM, as potential targets of intervention.”



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