The investigation was by the means of an experiment using the repeated measures design. In this design all the participants undergo both conditions.
The independent variable were the 2 conditions of the task: music by Dj Tiesto and by Mozart
The dependent variable was the no. of words recalled by the participants in both the conditions
The repeated measures design was used to avoid the difference between the participants affecting the results. If other variables are controlled then we know what effect the independent variable creates. Order effects are one of the major drawbacks of repeated measures design.
An opportunity sample of 220 first year undergraduates was taken at De Montfort University. This sample consisted of 40 males and 180 females. All students carried out the task simultaneously.
Apparatus & Material
A single A4 response sheet was given to every participant. Each response sheet had a unique code to it to preserve anonymity. There was a section for them to write their age, sex and their responses. The experiment was conducted using Microsoft Power Point. SPSS was used to analyse the data.
Participants were informed that they had the right to not participate or withdraw at any stage they want. The participants were briefed according to the instructions given to them in Appendix 1. This explained the task to them. The 40 words in LIST A & LIST B were selected from MRC Psycholinguistics database (Colheart, 1981) and can be seen in Appendix 2. The words in both the lists were different and comprised of 5-6 letters. The presentation of the words in LIST A & B was the same. Each word was presented on the centre of a slide with a white background and the font of the word was 72 black Tahoma. It was presented in lower case with one word to each slide.
While LIST A was presented music by DJ Tiesto was played in the background. The track was ‘Forever Today’ from the album ‘Parade of the Athletes’ which was released in 2004 by a Dutch company named Nettwerk. After all the 40 words were displayed the participants were asked to recall as many words as they possibly could and write them on the response sheets.
LIST B was presented the same way but the music in the background was composed by Mozart. The track was ‘Sonata for 2 Pianos in D Major, K448’ from the album ‘Mozart – Music for 2 pianos; Piano Duets’ by Ingrid Haedler and Ludwig Hoffman’ which was released in 1996 by a British company called Philips Duo. After all the 40 words were displayed the participants were asked to recall as many words as they possibly could and write them on the response sheets.
At the end of the experiment the response sheets were collected and the participants were debriefed.
The results are as attached and the calculations using the results are as shown below
The aim of the experiment was to investigate if listening to Mozart Music or contemperory pop music lead to a greater number of common words being recalled and if males and females performed differently following learning while listening to Mozart Music and contemperory pop music. The experimental results showed that listening to contemperory pop music affected the memory of common words more positively than listening to Mozart music when considering the whole population. Also, more men showed a higher memory of words when listening to tiesto than Mozart than women.
The numeric differences in the results achieved reflected that in the case of males the hypothesis was proven wrong as the majority remembered more words when listening to Tiesto music than to Mozart music. Nine of the women out of the 23 shown in the results had a higher memory of common words when listening to Mozart while 3 were not affected and the other 11 showed a higher memory when listening to Tiesto. This means the original hypothesis that women would recall more words when listening to Mozart was not significantly confirmed as the difference in the reaction of memory when listening to Tiesto was not too great when listening to Mozart. 19 men out of the 23 recalled more words when listening to music by Teisto compared to only 4 out of the 23 who recalled more words when listening to Mozart. The original hypothesis that males too would recall more words when listening to Mozart was opposed as well. The mean score in Tiesto condition was 10.67 (sd=3.42) and in Mozart condition was 9.07 (sd=4.19). This shows that overall the population recalled more words when listening to music by Tiesto. Thus the whole original hypothesis was not supported by the experiment conducted as more of the population of both genders recalled more words when listening to Tiesto. The standard deviation in the results when population was listening to music was Tiesto was lower than that when population was listening to music by Mozart which shows. This however means that the variations in number of words recalled was higher in Mozart. These results show that even though Rauscher’s theory of music affecting spatial reasoning was correct, the memory depends on the kind of music or noise that is present in the background. Also the fact that the men had a larger difference between number of recalled words than women shows that there was a higher increase in performance when listening to music in men.
Their could be various errors present in the experiment which include the fact the factors like the seriousness and the level of commitment each member of population has when conducting the experiment. Small factors like these are important as a very small population was considered which would mean that every person would affect the results hugely when considering the results as a percentage. This could be avoided by offering no initiative or adding compulsion to perform the experiment.
Word count = 1470 words
- Steele, Kenneth M., Bass, Karen E., Crook, Melissa D. (1999). THE MYSTERY OF THE MOZART EFFECT: Failure to Replicate. American Psychological Society,10,366-369
- Adrian, Strbac, Lisa (2002). Music is as distracting as noise: the differential distraction of background music and noise on cognitive test performance of introverts and extraverts. Ergonomics,45(3),203-217.
1. Instructions to participants
2. LIST A & LIST B
1. Instructions to participants
- The purpose of this experiment is to investigate the effect of listening to music on recall for common words.
- One at a time, you will be shown two lists of 40 words. The first list will be known as LIST A, and the second list will be known as LIST B. Each word in each list will appear on the screen for four seconds.
- When you have seen all 40 words in LIST A, you will be given two minutes to write down as many words from that list as you can remember.
- Please use the top part of the answer sheet to write down the words.
- This complete procedure will then repeated for LIST B
- Please do not make a written note of the words as they are being shown, and do not begin writing either list until I ask you to.
- Thank you for taking part
2. LIST A&B