Effects of Popular Music on Memorization Tasks

Topics: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Psychology, Psychoacoustics Pages: 6 (1960 words) Published: October 2, 2005
Effects of Popular Music on Memorization Tasks

The purpose of this study was to find whether popular music would have a positive or negative effect on memory tasks. There are many different perspectives on how background music and noise affects performance. The current body of research reports mixed results with some studies reporting positive effects and some reporting negative effects of music on performance. Numerous studies have been conducted to test the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect is a term used to explain the claim that people perform better on tasks when listening to music composed by Mozart. Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) indicated that subjects' performance on spatial tasks was better while listening to music compared to the silence condition. Due to this study, many people questioned whether listening to music increases intellectual ability. Other researchers stated that it is possible that the Mozart effect has very little to do with music. They postulated that enhanced performance is due to arousal or mood (Thompson, Schellenberg, & Husain, 2001). Those researchers proposed that musical stimuli that may be enjoyable to that individual might produce a small improvement in performance on a variety of tasks. Many studies have emerged from the concept of the Mozart effect. The results of these studies have been mixed. Ransdell & Gilroy (2001) indicated that background music significantly disrupted writing fluency while using a computer. The participants in that study showed signs of slower writing and a decreased writing quality when their writing was accompanied by background music. An earlier study found that when students frequently studied to music, a specific type of music was less likely to impair their performance on reading comprehension tests (Etaugh & Micheals, 1975). Hillard and Tolin (1975) indicated that if the background music was familiar to the subject, they performed better on the given task than when unfamiliar music was present. Another study argued that the differences were due mainly to individual differences in music preference (Daoussis & McKelvie, 1986). Tucker and Bushman (1991) found that rock and roll music had a detrimental effect on tasks involving mathematical and verbal skills, but it did not have an effect on reading comprehension tasks. In another study, the researchers found that music that contained speech had significant negative effects on the participants' ability to perform tasks (Martin, Wogalter & Forlano, 1988). It has also been found that males and females perform differently in the presence of music when performing various types of tasks (Miller & Schyb, 1989). Although these studies found different results for gender and the frequency of listening to the type of music presented in the study, the results still indicated that music helped their performance. Broadbent (1958) tested the effects of noise on tasks that required complex mental processing. He showed that noise produces deterioration in performance over time. He also proposed that noise has a negative effect on later performing of the same activity in silence. This suggests that there are other factors involved in this phenomenon beyond distraction of attention from the task. The irrelevant speech effect indicates that the presentation of speech based irrelevant sound that is to be ignored by subjects actually impairs their task performance (LeCompte, 1995). The irrelevant speech effect results in performance deficits on many cognitive tasks such as serial recall, free recall, cued recall, and recognition. Irrelevant speech can cause poor performance in many everyday situations such as offices, dorm rooms, and other situations where concentration on tasks is important. One study found words to be more disruptive than tones and nonsense syllables. The researchers suggested that this was due to the semantic meaningfulness of words (LeCompte, Neely, & Wilson, 1997). The irrelevant speech effect breaks...

References: Banbury, S. P., Macken, W. J., Tremblay, S., Jones, D. M. (2001). Auditory distraction and short-term memory: Phenomena and practical implications. Human Factors, 43, 12-29.
Broadbent, D. E. (1958). Effect of noise on an "intellectual" task. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 30, 824-827.
Daoussis, L., McKelvie, S. J. (1986). Music preferences and effects of music on a reading comprehension test for extroverts and introverts. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 62, 283-289.
Ellermeier, W., Hellbruck, J. (1998). Is level irrelevant in "irrelevant speech"? Effects of loudness, signal-to-noise ratio, and binaural unmasking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 24, 1406-1414.
Etaugh, C., Michals, D. (1975). Effects on reading comprehension of preferred music and frequency of studying to music. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 41, 553-554.
Fogelson, S. (1973). Music as a distracter on reading test performance of eighth grade students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 36, 1265-1266.
Hilliard, O. M., Tolin, P. (1979). Effect of familiarity with background music on performance of simple and difficult reading comprehension. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 49, 713-714.
Jones, D. (1999). The cognitive psychology of auditory distraction: The 1997 BPS Broadbent lecture. British Journal of Psychology, 90, 167-187.
LeCompte, D. C. (1995). An irrelevant speech effect with repeated and continuous background speech. Psychometric Bulletin & Review, 3, 391-397.
LeCompte, D. C., Neely, D. C., & Wilson, J. R. (1997). Irrelevant speech and irrelevant tones: The relative importance of speech to the irrelevant speech effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 23, 472-483.
Martin, R. C., Wogalter, M. S., & Forlano, J. G. (1988). Reading comprehension in the presence of unattended speech and music. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 382-398.
Ransdell, S.E., Gilroy, L. (2001). The effects of background music on word processed writing. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 17, 141-148.
Rauscher, F.H., Shaw, G.L, & Ky, K.N
Salame, P., Baddeley, A. (1987). Noise, unattended speech and short-term memory. Ergonomics, 30, 1185-1194.
Thompson, W.F., Schellenberg, E.G., & Husain, G. (2001). Arousal, mood, and the Mozart effect. Journal of Music Therapy, 12, 248-251.
Tolan, G. A., Tehan, G. (2002). Testing feature interaction: Between-stream irrelevant speech effects in immediate recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 562-585.
Tucker, A., Bushman, B. (1991). Effects of rock and roll music on mathematical, verbal, and reading comprehension performance. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 72, 942.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Effects of Music on the Mind and Body Essay
  • Effects of Music Essay
  • Effects of Background Music on Concentration Essay
  • Essay on Effects of Music on the Mind
  • Popular Music Essay
  • Essay on Effect of Music on Memory Retrieval
  • popular music exam specifications Essay
  • Essay about Effects of Music

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free