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22 August 2006



Latimes book review

Parents of a certain age will nod sagely, involuntarily humming the "SpongeBob SquarePants" theme as they read that by age 5 children "have learned to recognize chord progressions in the music of their culture." By 10 or 11, many "take on music as a real interest, even those children who didn't express such an interest in music earlier," Levitin writes. And it's no coincidence that most people have formed their musical taste by 18 or 20, at the end of adolescence, "the formative phase when our neural circuits become structured out of our experiences." That's why as adults, "the music we tend to be nostalgic for, the music that feels like it is 'our' music, corresponds to [what] we heard during these years."

Levitin offers a haunting and perhaps comforting aside: One thing people with Alzheimer's will often remember is their favorite music from age 14.

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