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Neural Nostalgia: Why do we love the music we heard as teenagers?

Stashed in: Brain, Awesome, Music, Music Videos!, Music, Michael Jackson, 1980s, Neuroscience, Memory, Guardians of the Galaxy, @emilykatemoon, rock out!

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 Brain imaging studies show that our favorite songs stimulate the brain’s pleasure circuit, which releases an influx of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good. The more we like a song, the more we get treated to neurochemical bliss, flooding our brains with some of the same neurotransmitters that cocaine chases after.

Music lights these sparks of neural activity in everybody. But in young people, the spark turns into a fireworks show. Between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good. When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion, thanks partly to a surfeit of pubertal growth hormones. These hormones tell our brains that everything is incredibly important—especially the songs that form the soundtrack to our teenage dreams (and embarrassments).

It sounds like these connections stay with us for life.

I should have been more careful in my song selection as a teenager!

Shit...  I thought I was finally rid of the one-hit wonders of the 70s... and now I'm going to be wanting to nostalgically reminisce with them in my 70s...

Ha. Yeah. Especially if you watch Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Guardians hit me hard! Even songs I didn't like then I like now... had to download the time life ultimate seventies albums to get my fix on... 

Haha, Christina that's awesome.

I think I'm gonna buy the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. Several of those songs are still bouncing through my head.

i still get pumped UP when i hear alda nova's fantasy life!  reminds me of jumping on my bunk bed!

This one? It's so 1980s!

How about those three guitar rockers in a row?

that's it!!  haha!  i was just a little kid, not a teenager, but i loved rocking out to this one!  :)

What else was on the jumping on bunk bed mix?

thomas dolby blinded with science

and michael jackson off the wall


...and just enjoy yourself...

this is so fun!!  thank you, adam!


his face looked so good back then!  but his dance moves were still in their nascency!

Yeah, it's amazing to look at him in 1979 and see the potential.

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