We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Music-evoked autobiographical memories in everyday life.

Jakubowski, Kelly and Ghosh, Anita (2021) 'Music-evoked autobiographical memories in everyday life.', Psychology of music., 49 (3). pp. 649-666.


Music can be a particularly effective cue for bringing one back to the sights and sounds of events from across the lifespan. These music-evoked autobiographical memories (MEAMs) have typically been studied within laboratory experiments and clinical settings, often using experimenter-selected music to cue autobiographical memories. The present work took a more naturalistic approach, by studying the situational aspects, contents, and features of MEAMs within the course of participants’ everyday lives. Participants (N = 31) recorded details of their MEAMs and music listening habits in a diary for 7 days. MEAMs were experienced, on average, once per day and were cued by a wide variety of music, often during routine tasks such as traveling and housework. Everyday MEAMs were typically rated as highly vivid and involuntary and were often accompanied by positive or mixed emotions (e.g., happiness, nostalgia) and social themes. Some evidence of individual differences was found, with older participants rating their MEAMs as more vivid and accompanied by more positive emotions. The features reported within everyday MEAMs replicated several previous findings on MEAMs and autobiographical memory more generally, indicating that this naturalistic method was able to capture genuine MEAM experiences. Implications for future research on naturally occurring MEAMs are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
Download PDF (Advance online version)
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 January 2020
Date of first online publication:16 December 2019
Date first made open access:03 January 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar