Why do old people dislike new music? As I’ve grown older, I often hear people my age say things like they just don’t make good music like they used to. Why does this happen? Luckily, psychology can give us some insights into this puzzle. Musical tastes begin to crystallize as early as age 13 or 14. By the time we’re in our early 20s, these tastes get locked into place pretty firmly. 【22】
In fact, studies have found that by the time we turn 33, most of us have stopped listening to new music. Meanwhile, popular songs released when you’re in your early teens are likely to remain quite popular among your age group for the rest of your life . 【23】
There could be a biological explanation for this, as there’s evidence that the brain’s ability to make subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms, and melodies deteriorates with age. So to older people, newer, less familiar songs might all “sound the same.”
But there’ re maybe some simpler reasons for older people’s aversion to newer music. One of the most researched laws of social psychology is something called the “mere exposure effect.” , which in essence means that the more we’re exposed to something, the more we tend to like it. 【24】
This happens with people we know, the advertisements we see and, the songs we listen to.
When you’re in your early teens, you probably spend a fair amount of time listening to music or watching music videos. Your favorite songs and artists become familiar, comforting parts of your routine.
For many people over 30, job and family obligations increase, so there’s less time to spend discovering new music. Instead, many will simply listen to old, familiar favorites from that period of their lives when they had more free time.
Of course, those teen years weren’t necessarily carefree. They’re famously confusing, which is why so many TV shows and movies revolve around the high school turmoil.
Psychology research has shown that the emotions that we experience as teens seem more intense than those that come later. And we also know that intense emotions are associated with stronger memories and preferences. Both of these might explain why the songs we listen to during this period become so memorable and beloved. 【25】
So there’s nothing wrong with your parents because they don’t like your music. Rather it’s all part of the natural order of things.
22. What does the speaker mainly discuss in this talk?
23. What have studies found about most people by the time they turned 33?
24. What do we learn from one of the most researched laws of social psychology?
25. What might explain the fact that songs people listen to in their teen years are memorable and beloved?