The Cosmetic Ultralounge

Choosing a Song which Best Describes You

While not selecting exclusively from your favorite band, try to come up a song that can describe how you feel and how you think others feel about you.

A song can describe one day in your life, or how every day has been. Lyrics do not necessarily dictate what the song can mean. Hearing certain riffs and melodies can bring back memories of scenery or a specific time of your life which you may have not thought of for a while.

If a song was written with a particular meaning by an artist, that does not mean it will come off the same to the listeners. During certain verses, the lyrics of a song may remind you of a very specific moment or person and bring back that memory every time you hear it.

Research at Kansas State University shows even just the thought about a particular song can bring back vivid memories of the past.

“We thought that actually hearing the song would bring back the most vivid memories,” said Richard Harris, professor of psychology at K-State. “But in our study there wasn’t a lot of difference in memory between those who heard the song and those who didn’t. What we determined was happening is that you already know the song and you’re hearing it in your mind.”

Harris said music can be a powerful memory cue because it is multimodal. Which means it combines words and instrumentation, for which people generally use different sides of their brains.

“Most people have this idea that music can be a powerful memory cue,” Harris said. “You hear a song on the radio and it brings up memories of senior prom or graduation. That’s why oldies stations are so popular — not because the music is good but because it reminds us of specific times in our lives.”

Take a moment to think of lyrics that may have described a particular day for you and listen to the song over again.

“Music is a very rich, emotional stimulus,” Harris said. “If we can’t remember the words, we remember the music. I can remember advertising jingles from my childhood, but I don’t remember the slogans without the music. Music may be something that our brains are primed to understand and enjoy in the same way we’re primed to understand language, although language is much more fundamental.”

To what extent does music shape autobiographical memory? And how does it help increase understanding of human memory?

Researchers Martin Conway and Catriona Morrison at the University of Leeds believe that the outcome from their study of autobiographical memory will enhance understanding of how people develop memory as children, how adults form memories and if and how memories change over the lifespan, from children into adults.

Autobiographical memory is a form of long-term memory and consists of the events and experiences people have had during their lives.

It is about who people are, where they have been and how the sense of self is shaped.

Within families, groups, communities and cultures, shared autobiographical memories create commonly held beliefs, values and collective histories.

Music therapists know that by recalling music memories and associating these memories with significant events, people’s musical memories provide a veritable life review.

Therefore, these remembrances provide an internal sense of social support and connect people to others, whether through peer groups, classmates, friends, families or communities. Triggering recollection of musical histories reinforces identity, strengthening a sense of self, meaning and purpose throughout a person’s lifespan.

So whether you pick one song, or five songs know and understand why they are all about you.

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