I was listening to npr the other day and heard a report from this reporter. Just to keep everyone in the loop, I've been searching for this article through search engines for some time now, and couldn't find the right key words.
The story is here from 2006..."Does Age quash our spirit of adventure?" So it had nothing to do with music at all, which is why I couldn't find it.
Robert Sapolsky, a distinguished neuroscientist in his 40s, had a young assistant who played different music every day, from Sonic Youth to Minnie Pearl. That made Sapolsky crazy -- and curious about why his aging ears still crave the music he loved in college. Is there a certain age when the typical American passes from the novelty stage to utter predictability?
While I have certainly met older people who enjoy all types of music, I have found this observation to be true for me personally. Listening to music I loved from high school produces an emotional reaction for me - I like current music, but it is just not the same.
So it's nice to have my theories backed up by research. It's true, I think some people are simply more experimental than others in terms of their musical preferences. But I think as we age, we're less interested in experiencing and understanding new things.