Tag Archives: The Beatles

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.”


The Beatles in Rishikesh

12 Apr

I just finished reading Paul Saltzman‘s The Beatles in Rishikesh, a first person account of their 1967 visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi‘s ashram in India.



Saltzman, was working as a photo journalist, and the book is mostly a collection of his photos. The text is a brief account of how he came to Rishikesh and the time he spent their with the Beatles. The story is spread out to book length by using an enormous font size.

I was mostly interested in the story of the Beatles relationship with the Mararishi and its implication for the practice of meditation. It is clear that the Beatles had different feelings about the Mararishi at the time of their split, John being the most hostile and George much less so.

For me, the story teaches us that while meditation has great value, it is a tool that needs to have an ethical foundation in order to realize its true potential. That is why I practice metta mediation.

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