Why reggaeton lyrics are burned into your memory


The music plays. A catchy beat grabs your attention. A voice exclaims “you let me fall” and your brain, in a matter of milliseconds, follows up with “but she picked me up!”. Next song. Starts with a “what do I have to do so that you come back with me” and you instinctively know the answer is “let’s leave the past behind“. One more. If the music says “What happened happened“You know that the only correct reply is to scream at the top of your lungs”between you and me“. These are the verses that the ‘Gasoline Generation’, those raised with reggaeton and the rhythms of Daddy Yankee, we have seared into our brains. But how is it possible that we remember each and every one of these phrases and then forget much more practical data? Science, of course, has an answer.

Not that many excuses are needed to justify why do we know the songs that have marked our lives, but if we try to find explanations about how our brain works, it is good pull the thread of psychology and the neuroscience. So pay attention to all units, because the first step in entering this debate is to understand how memory works and how memories are stored.

Memories of a night out

So let’s start at the beginning. As explained by the neuropsychologists Hilde and Ylva Øtsby in ‘The Book of Memory’ (Ariel), “memories arise from an intricate network of brain interactions” in which what our senses capture is recorded. Every time we are exposed to a stimulus, such as a song, in our brain there are a series of neural connections. Some are ephemeral and others, on the other hand, remain recorded. But what does one thing or the other depend on?

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There are two fundamental reasons to explain why some connections are stored in our gray matter. The first is the repetition. The more we hear (and repeat) the lyrics of a song, the easier it is for us to remember it (hence, for example, repeating a fact over and over again helps memorize it for an exam). The second reason is emotion. Everything emotionally charged memory it’s more likely to stick in your brain (yes, that’s why you still remember that embarrassing moment in high school that still haunts you at night).

But there is a third element that helps us understand why reggaeton hymns remain imprinted in our brains: the context in which we live these stimuli. As the Øtsby neuropsychologists explain, when we rescue a memory from our memory we not only recover the ‘loose file’ with, for example, the lyrics of the song. We also recall all the experiences and emotions associated with that memory. Like a night out, a funny anecdote with friends or a moment of ‘drinking all the way up and twerking all the way down’. Is there anything more memorable than this?


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