A psychological phenomenon called neural nostalgia explains why you still love the music you loved as a teenager.

An Instagram reel created by California therapist and photographer Nikki Roy discusses neural nostalgia and why it’s relevant to so many.

“There is a thing called neural nostalgia where researchers are actually finding that the music we listen to as teenagers binds to our brains differently than anything we’re ever going to hear as adults,” she said.

“So literally one of the best coping skills and things that I still do myself is listen to the music that you love to listen to, like bangers as a teenager that’s like punk rock, Pitbull, whatever. Listen to that because it actually helps us get out of our heads and it helps us connect to ourselves. It makes us feel alive again.”

Our Brains Are Still Developing When We’re Teenagers

Our brains don’t stop developing until we’re in our mid-20s, as noted by the National Institute of Mental Health. And while we’re teenagers, we process information with the amygdala, which is the emotion center [via Stanford Medicine]. Thus, it makes sense that things that evoke positive emotions in us as teenagers will stay with us for good.

Slate further states that teenagers’ pubertal growth hormones play a part in why we have such heightened emotional connections to songs that we loved during adolescence.

“We are discovering music on our own for the first time when we’re young, often through our friends. We listen to the music they listen to as a badge, as a way of belonging to a certain social group. That melds the music to our sense of identity.” Daniel Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession said.

2000s Nostalgia Has Made a Comeback Recently

Musical trends are cyclical, and in recent years, the music and fashion from the 2000s has made somewhat of a comeback. About a year ago, there was a spike in searches for the term “nu metal,” as many of the biggest albums from that era turned 20 in 2023.

READ MORE: 10 Metal Fashion Mistakes of the Early 2000s

The When We Were Young and Sick New World festivals have been nostalgic for many fans as well, with both lineups consisting mainly of late ’90s and early 2000s bands. The 2024 installment of When We Were Young will see over 50 artists playing one of their classic albums in full, and Sick New World’s bill is mostly comprised of nu-metal acts.

Then, of course, there’s the Creed reunion, which has seemingly made the band’s popularity explode once again. Videos of crowds at events singing the hit “Higher” have gone viral, and both weeks of the band’s “Summer of ’99” cruise are sold out.

Let this be your reminder that you loved what you loved as a teen for a reason, and there’s no shame in still loving it now.

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Gallery Credit: by Loudwire Staff

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