A Little-Known Factor That Can Affect Your Kid’s Future Emotions

 Or “Why the heck do I know all of the lyrics to “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” and love to bounce around when that song comes on?!?”


Have you ever heard a song from before your time and known all of the words?  Did it bring back memories of your childhood or make you feel energized?  I know that I’m not alone in spontaneously being able to sing lyrics to songs from even my grandparents’ time.

Well, scientists may have found the reason that we connect with and remember music from earlier generations – what they call “cascading reminiscence bumps”.

A Little-Known Factor That Can Affect Your Kid's Future EmotionsThey think that when some of the music that was played during our childhood, presumably music from our parents’ generation that they enjoyed, it imprinted on us and gave us a lasting connection.  The music that your mom played on cassettes while driving you to the grocery store created a lasting connection between those songs and you.

Why do we connect with songs from our grandparents’ era?  Because those songs made an impression on our parents and then they would either sing or play that music occasionally for us and…boom!  More imprinting.  That’s where the “cascading” part comes into it.  The same music then affects multiple generations.

And not only do we recognize the imprinted music but we often also have an emotional connection to it.  It brings back memories or just feelings from our childhood.  It stirs emotions that we felt when that music was being imprinted on us.

So, what does that mean for our kids?  It means that what you are playing for them in the car or at home will become imprinted on them.  That Britney Spears song from your college days that you play occasionally will someday bring back memories of their childhood for your kiddos.

When they are adults, they will wonder why they know all of the words to Beyonce’s songs, or feel a connection to Carrie Underwood’s music.  They may even wonder why they feel emotional when they hear music from our parents’ generation.  And the cascading continues.

Want to join in on the music study?  It’s still running online through Cornell.  You can participate here.


Other Parenting News

1.  Is there some anatomical reason that a father is less likely to actively care for his children?  One study suggests that there is.  They have linked testicle size to parenting.  The larger the testicles, the more likely the father isn’t an active parent.  The study only looks at a small sample of men, but it does make you think!

2.  One photographer and mother decided to help the world embrace the changes of moms’ bodies.  The 4th Trimester Bodies Project is a gallery of moms’ bodies within three months of childbirth.  It’s real, beautiful, and inspiring.

3.  Parents who have kids with allergies have to shell out some serious cash to keep their kids safe.  Researchers estimate that the U.S. spends about $25 billion on everything from special doctor visits to daycares that will banish peanuts.  Yowza!


What songs from your parents’ or grandparents’ generation do you love?


Photo courtesy of el patojo on flickr.com.

8 Comments on A Little-Known Factor That Can Affect Your Kid’s Future Emotions

  1. Kendra
    September 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a special connection to Johnny B Goode and Chantilly Lace. My mom had a cassette that she gave me and those are the songs I remember from it. Also any country songs from the early 90s; okay so that’s my childhood, but I connect it with my mom as well. I’ve caught my son singing along to pop songs on the radio… Maroon 5 especially, and Justin Bieber (the babysitter has a 15 yr old daughter, lol)!

  2. Amber Schultz
    September 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Justin Bieber, huh? So funny! I wonder if when he hears a Justin Bieber or Maroon 5 song when he’s 30 if he’ll think of you!

  3. Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies
    September 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm (3 years ago)

    That is very interesting. I sang Margaritaville to Brady every night until he was maybe 3. I wonder if he’ll like it, ha! We also listened to tons of Eagles and John Denver. Now I listen almost exclusively to KLove, so basically contemporary Christian music. And Brady, who is 7, will say, “Oh, God music again.” He can tell the difference.
    Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies recently posted…Small Town Tuesday: Fundraiser panicMy Profile

    • Amber Schultz
      September 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm (3 years ago)

      It’s funny to think that Margaritaville may hold a special place in his heart one day! I sing mostly show tunes to my kids, so I wonder if they’ll realize they inexplicably know all of the lyrics to “Annie” some day.

    • Amber Schultz
      September 26, 2013 at 5:30 pm (3 years ago)

      Sounds like she already has the music imprinted! What music do you listen to?

  4. Steven
    September 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm (3 years ago)

    That is crazy to think about. It makes me only want to listen to only uplifting, good music when my kids are around. I shouldn’t have much of a problem though I mostly listen to audio books and podcasts. My kids are going be addicted to podcasts when they are older because of me.
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    • Amber Schultz
      September 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Funny you should say that – my dad always listened to CarTalk when I was growing up, and now I love listening to the reruns. I guess talk radio/podcasts can get imprinted too!


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