Frightening prospect, isn’t it? But there’s a good reason why we go on loving the music we hear in adolescence for the rest of our lives, according to former musician and current McGill University neuroscientist Daniel Levitin. Those are precisely the years when the neural pathways in our brains are being set, with new ones laid down and underused ones pruned away. Essentially, Danny Partridge and David Cassidy are hardwired into my circuitry, and Justin Bieber will literally become part of your daughter forevermore.
If you find your kid’s infatuation with the Biebs a little frightening (though it’s hard to believe you yourself weren’t once swooning over somebody the same way—hello, Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter!), Levitin has reassuring words on that as well, according to the Wall Street Journal: In MRI experiments, he’s shown that listening to familiar, beloved songs releases good old dopamine, the same chemical neurotransmitter that’s produced by snorting cocaine, eating chocolate and winning at poker. Hey, given that, you’d want to hear “Girlfriend” another 50,000 times, too. Teen crushes also offer a safe way for kids to channel the emotional turmoil caused by their growing awareness of their sexuality.
So, better let her be a Belieber—since your daughter’s chances of actually meeting him backstage and having sex with him are, despite last year’s backstage-baby-daddy-scandal, pretty dim. She’s still just one of his 44 million Facebook fans.