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Music listening

A new study by Dr Kelly Jakubowski and Professor Tuomas Eerola has shown that music evokes fewer, but more emotionally positive, autobiographical memories than other cues.

In the study, music from various genres was matched to equivalently emotional environmental sounds and words. For example, angry sounding heavy metal music was matched to screeching factory sounds and the word "tornado." These pieces of music, sounds, and words were then presented to 350 participants who were asked to report autobiographical memories evoked by these cues.

Whereas negative sounds and words evoked more negative memories, sad and angry sounding music brought back just as positive memories as joyful pieces of music. This suggests music may be somewhat unique in its ability to become associated with primarily positive life events.

The research is published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition:

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