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“I have no specific memory”: what is transient global amnesia, which affects some Taylor Swift fans after a concert?

  • June 4, 2024
  • 6 Min
  • 13

It was an event that they were impatiently awaiting: the Taylor Swift concert. After a series of dates in the United States, the American artist performed on French territory on May 9, 10, 11 & 12, 2024 in the Paris La Défense Arena concert hall for The Eras Tour. The opportunity for the “Swifties” (fans of the American singer) to see their idol for real. But, despite the more than 3 hours of concert and 45 songs, some fans returned home without clear memories of the concert they had just attended.

A temporary amnesia that we find among the fans throughout the dates. “Come to think of it, I don’t have any specific memory that I can recall, it’s more of an overall memory of the event”testified Danielle, a fan of Taylor Swift, toABC News last October. So how can we explain this “post-concert amnesia”?

Stress, emotions, crowds… Here’s what could lead to post-concert amnesia

Behind this phenomenon, which may seem disconcerting, an explanation would be a “transient global amnesia” that the MSD Manual defined as “a sudden, temporary loss of memory for events before, during, and after the event that caused amnesia”. If the exact causes are not known, the specialist journal lists different factors that can trigger it, such as emotional or psychological stress, physical exertion or certain external factors such as taking certain drugs or alcohol.

Questioned by the American newspaper Time, Ewan McNay, associate professor in the psychology department at the State University of New York, explains that this phenomenon can occur in very emotionally strong situations. The latter explains that the levels the stress can impact the functioning of neurons linked to memory.

More precisely, Joel Stoddard, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, explains in a university press release that it is the hippocampus area that is impacted. “When the hippocampus is stressed or there is an intense emotional experience, the hippocampus may behave differently. The researchers hypothesized that this different functioning modifies memory”, he explains. If Taylor Swift’s tour puts the spotlight on the phenomenon, other more intimate events may occur, such as a wedding for example.

Post-concert amnesia: how to limit it?

“Amnesia in young people is extremely rare,” presents Nathan Carroll, psychiatrist and researcher at the Yale School of Public Health, in the United States. According to the researcher, who launched a study last November on the issue of memory loss among certain Taylor Swift spectators, the latter believes that the emulation around the concert, as well as the crowd or the noise, can be provoking factors. this temporary amnesia. In addition, the latter reassures by specifying that memories can gradually come back over time or by looking at photos or videos of the concert.

Also, to fully enjoy the moment and keep these precious memories in mind, the specialist recommends listening to your emotions even if “this could detract from some of the enjoyment of the concert.” Additionally, practicing mindfulness can be a solution to enjoying the moment.

Sources :

  • Yale Executive MPH student studies cause of ‘Swiftie Amnesia’ – Yale School of public Health
  • Why some Taylor Swift fans report ‘concert amnesia’ – University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Why You Can’t Remember That Taylor Swift Concert All Too Well – Time (26/05/2023)
  • Taylor Swift fans who experienced ‘post-concert amnesia’ may have better luck at her movie, experts say – ABC News (12/10/2023)
author avatar
Louis Tardy