Music-effected emotions may create more powerful memories


An article on covers how UCLA psychologists conducted a study published in Nature Communications revealing that fluctuating emotions triggered by music help create distinct and long-lasting memories. The research found that emotional changes induced by music formed boundaries between memory episodes, aiding people in remembering what they saw and when. This process resembles organizing items into different boxes for long-term storage. The study suggests therapeutic potential for conditions like PTSD and depression by leveraging emotions to organize memories.

Participants listened to emotionally evocative music while viewing neutral images and later recalled those images. Emotional changes affected how participants remembered the sequence and duration of these images, suggesting that music-induced emotional shifts influenced memory. Notably, positive emotional shifts integrated memories, while negative shifts tended to separate and expand memory distance.

The study proposes music’s potential as a direct intervention for memory-related disorders, indicating that emotionally dynamic music might help treat memory issues. Moreover, harnessing positive emotions, possibly through music, could aid individuals in reorganizing traumatic memories and preventing negative emotions from affecting everyday life. The study was supported by various institutions, including the National Science Foundation, UCLA, and Columbia University.

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