Why can I remember song lyrics for so long?

(Image credit: Michael Maasen)

Question from Sarah Ross

The average human brain contains about 86 billion neurons – a vast network that processes information. Memories are formed when specific connections between neurons are strengthened, making it easier for you to recall information again and again.

Emotions enhance these pathways, and music can often trigger how we were feeling when we listened to it. Our brains also like sound patterns, and songs often use repetition and rhyme – it’s how ancient peoples used to remember stories long before the introduction of written language. So whether you loved or loathed a song, chances are you’ll still be able to sing along years later.

Answered by Jodie Tyley for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 119.

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