Effects Of Back Ground Music On Phonological Short Term Memory

1300 words - 5 pages

Improving recall has been the goal of many scientific studies (Higbee, 2001; Lachman, Weaver, Bandura, Elliot, & Lewkowicz, 1992). As a result, a debate surfaced on the best method to achieve this goal. This study chose to focus on only two methods, emotional state and emotionally arousing words. One’s emotional state or mood is important to consider when exploring memory, because mood affects one’s recall of information (Happiness-Levine & Burgess, 1997; Thaut & l’Etoile, 1993). Music, depending on the type, can help induce or change one’s mood (Rickard, 2012). This is important because, music is apart of many of people’s daily lives. Students, especially, listen to music while they study a task that relies on one’s memory. Beyond just exploring mood, this study wanted to look at what type of word is best remembered. Previous research (Doerksen & Shimamura, 2001; LaBar & Phelps, 1998; Zimmerman & Kelley, 2010) found that people tend to recall and remember emotional words better than neutral non-emotional words. Building upon these findings is important because, if certain types of words were confirmed as inherently memorable then these words would be powerful. They could be used as powerful tools for writing memorable speeches, lectures, and advertisements. One’s mood working in conjunction with emotional words, could lead to effortless increase in one’s own ability to recall information
A recent study by Ferguson and Sheldon (2013) looked at inducing positive emotional states in their participants using classical music. In their study, participants listened to either 12 minutes of an upbeat “hedonically positive” classical music piece or a slow “hedonically ambiguous” classical music piece. Their results showed that participants who listened to the positive piece were more likely to rate their emotional state as positive. While tthe participants who listened to the ambiguous piece rated their emotional state as unchanged. The current study was able to rely on music to induce emotional states in participants, because of Ferguson and Sheldon’s work on confirming that positive music leads to positive moods.
In order to use music to affect a person’s mood and thus, increase their memory, music cannot be distracting. Salamé and Baddeley’s study (1989), found that background music distracted participants while they tried to recall different 9 digit numbers. They replicated the study using instrumental music, while distracting, was less distracting than vocal music. The current study needed to use music to induce a positive mood, but also needed that music to not distract participants from the recall task. This next study by Thaut and l'Etoile (1993) figured out how best to utilize music to enhance learning without distracting one from a task. They randomly assigned participants to one of five conditions: the presence of music, either as a background stimulus during encoding or recall or both, no music during encoding or recall, or music used to...

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