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Testing the effect of different types of music on memory.

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1. Design 1.1 Focus Question Listening to music is a technique that many students use to relax and/or improve their concentration. However, many students 'fall into the trap' of listening to music while they study. But are they really traps? Does listening to music while studying create distractions which weaken memorization, or is it an effective method for memorization? This leads us to the focus question: Does the type of background music (rock, jazz, orchestral, strings and no music) played during the memorization and recollection processes have an effect on students' ability to memorize and recall a list of words? 1.2 Hypothesis The more dissonant the background music is, the more it weakens the student's ability to memorize and thus, the less number of words are recalled. Therefore, no music will have the highest memory recall; followed by strings, orchestral, jazz and rock (lowest memory recall). In other words, yes, music does create distractions which weaken memorization during memorization and recollection processes. 1.3 Background Information 1.3.1 Dissonance In music, the term dissonance means a combination of notes that sound harsh or unpleasant to most people. Dissonance is based on beating and roughness. These conditions are caused due to sound signal's amplitude fluctuations which describe variations in the maximum amplitude to a reference point due to wave interference. This interference theory states that two or more waves may be smaller (destructive interference) or larger (constructive interference) depending on their phase relationship. Thus for dissonance, constructive and destructive interferences cause the phenomenon of amplitude fluctuations and thus produces the harsh or unpleasant sound. 1.3.2 Previous studies on background music on memory Numerous studies have shown numerous results on the effect of background music on memory. In 1986, Davidson and Powell conducted an experiment to determine the effect of background music on on-task performance (OTP). The participants were 26 pupils in a fifth grade science class who were observed for 42 class sessions over 4 months. ...read more.


This was evident as the participants split into four distinct groups: year 11 males, year 11 females, year 10 males, and year 10 females. It was clearly stated at the start of the experiment that talking is not permitted throughout the experiment. However, participants in each 'ingroup' talked to each other during the recall section of this experiment. The participants were instantly told to stop talking. In addition, conformity was used as once one 'ingroup' started discussing results; the other groups conformed to them and also discussed results. It should also be noted that in the memory stage; a few participants used fingers to help them recall memory. It was also predicted that the participants constantly stared at the screen (list of words) without shifting their view. However, that was not the case as all participants either closed their eyes or looked at the ground or ceiling. In the interval section of the experiment, (where the participants had to listen to music without doing anything for 60 seconds) most participants closed their eyes and some even put their head on the table. Although some participants attempted to block their ears, they were immediately prohibited in doing so. In the one minute of recall, it was possible to see that all the participants commenced writing immediately and kept writing at a fast constant speed for five seconds. When thirty seconds have passed, most participants have stopped writing. It was also possible to see that some participants recalled a few more words by looking around the classroom. However, the fact that some of the participants wrote some words after 30 seconds triggered the discussion with the in-groups about the results as well as the conformity of other in-groups which followed. 2.2 Processing Raw Data 2.2.1 Sample Calculations A worked example has been shown for the average and standard deviation of the rock background music investigation. The average is the central tendency of data and the standard deviation is a statistical measure of the precision of series of repetitive measurements. ...read more.


As a future opportunity, it would be interesting to discover the other types of music such as techno and heavy rock. 4. Appendix Appendix I : 5 Different lists of twenty words List 1 List 2 List 3 List 4 List 5 Creative Ball Park Seat Test Clock Wheat Sign Watch Light Fork Yellow Book Mat Dessert Pen Hose Post Train Dirt Bee Flag Snake Tiger Document House Bear Mirror Gate Key Wave Truck Cell Microphone Deer Bus Button Fruit Calendar Tea Chip Seed Plant Ant Donkey Battery Window Bed Shark Paper Bin Fire Glass Pear Pepper Box Ice Sun Cup Corn Plate Wheel Grass Picture Rubbish Zebra Video Hat Factory Movie Chicken Tree Red Concrete Blue Ground Koala Pole Rug Flower Camera Green Orange Building Fence Rake Pot Elephant Apple Computer Violin Insect Racket Teacher Table Cards Ribbon Lizard Turtle Lolly Appendix II: Briefing statement You have been chosen to take part in a short memory experiment. Shortly, you will be given a pencil and a question paper faced down. Do not fear, the task is not hard. Simply try and memorize all the words on the screen. There are twenty words. After this, you must sit there silently whilst listening to music that will be played for one minute. Then you will be required to write down as many words as you can remember. You have 2 minutes to memorize the words on the screen. Start now! (2 minutes later) Please sit there quietly for 1 minute and listen to the music. (1 minute later) Okay, now recall as many words as you remember. (1 minute later) *Do this process 5 times with different music playing in the background in this order, rock, orchestral, control, jazz and strings Appendix III: Debriefing statement Thank you for participating in my biology experiment; on the effect of background music on memory recall. The results from this experiment will be kept anonymous. If anyone has any problems, you can contact me through my email Thank you for your participation. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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