Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh Nevermind...I forgot!

When I was driving in the car a little while ago, an 80's song came on the radio. It was by Tiffany and was entitled, "I Think We're Alone Now." I turned it up and sang every word, since (I admit) I was a huge Tiffany fan back in the day. I was shocked that I even remembered the words, seeing as how if you had asked me to sing it without the music I would have been lost (there's a game called Songburst where I encounter the same problem).

So, how come I can remember every word to a song from 2 decades ago, but I can't remember something what I need to put on my grocery list, even though I could think of all the things I needed when I was in the shower this morning!

I had a class that discussed this phenomenon when I was in my undergraduate psych classes....I just can't remember the scientific answer that made perfect sense when I learned it... Any ideas?


Steph said...

Think about it-- you really liked the song/artist, so you probably played it repeatedly. And you probably sang along every single time you heard it. And you probably associated the song with a specific time period (or person, or place) in your life. All those factors combine to create a very strong brain connection!

The reason you (and most people) can remember all the words to songs you knew decades ago is that music and speech are stored in two different parts of your brain. This increases the likelihood of being stored in long-term memory. Simple things, like the grocery list, only involve one small segment of brain activity-- which is why we can never remember to get eggs and milk without writing it down. :-) Basically, the more parts of your brain involved in doing something, the more likely you'll be able to remember it tomorrow, or 50 years from now.

Aren't you glad you're related to someone who can explain brain activity as it relates to music? ;-)

Jenny said...

Yes, I am glad! I knew you would know the answer! :)