Under 30 years old? A study says the music you love now will “define the rest of your life”

The University of Westminster and City University of London recently undertook an experiment to analyse the impacts of music discovered between the ages of 10 and 30, otherwise known as the ‘self-defining period’.

It was reported that the music we listen to between those ages help determine our identities for the rest of our lives.

Music vintage vinyl listening

A study of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs program has uncovered that the music we listen to between the ages of 10 and 30 define us for the rest of our lives.

The experiment was conducted alongside BBC Radio. On Desert Island Discs, guests are asked to choose the eight records they would take with them if they were being cast away on a deserted island.

The study revealed that 17% of people chose a song because it reminded them of their relationship with a specific person, sometimes a significant other, friend, or parent. 16.2% selected records that reminded them of their childhood and 12.9% picked songs that connected them to specific memories that were life-changing and helped form their identity.

There are some really good reasons as to why this is the case. Music has often been described as an “autobiographical memory” or an encapsulation of moments that are intrinsically linked to the evolving identity of a young adult. The major physical and psychological changes people undergo from 10-30 years of age are times of great reminiscence in later years. This may also be the case because many milestone moments like travel, graduation, first loves, and break-ups happen during this time.

Music’s inextricable links with the people, places, and times in one’s self-defining period will probably never change. So, make sure you carefully choose what you listen to because it may just become a hallmark of who you are. Science says so, anyway.