Article by Sasha Ú, Year 10, Caxton Times journalist
Have you ever suddenly heard a song you haven’t listened to in ages, and a very specific moment in your life pops up in your head? No matter what, whenever I listen to the song ‘No Wind Resistance!’ by “Kinneret’, I perfectly visualise the windy winter outside, the late night science studying with this song playing in my headphones, and the background sound of the TV in the back as everyone else is asleep. We all experience this, and it actually has to do with how your subconscious mind processes an event in your life. So, what does that actually mean?
According to an article from “sites.psu.edu” (“Why does Music Trigger Specific Memories?” by Casey Brennan), when you evoke a memory stuck in the deep corners of your mind, the mind makes sense of it and processes it, then realises it has heard it before. It provokes the same emotions that it caused in that event, as you engraved in your mind that that song naturally goes with that event. Especially if it was an important or significant part of your past, the mind is stimulated in the same way it was in the past as it assumes that since it’s the same melody, it’s the same event. That is why if you listen to an old song you used to be obsessed with, you may feel nostalgic and think of all the times you enjoyed listening to that song in other eras of your life.
There are two types of memories, as noted in the source. ‘Explicit memories’ are far more light-hearted, recent, insignificant events, such as what you had for dinner last night. ‘Implicit memories’ are the important, sentimental, and heavy memories that are buried in your subconscious but can be retrieved by the conscious mind with certain stimuli. This is exactly what those specific songs make the brain do – relive those moments that trigger deep emotions.
So, what is your specific song that does this? Which lyrics make you shiver? What melody sends you into a myriad of past feelings?