EFFECTS OF MUSIC ON MEMORY FOR TEXT1,2

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Abstract

Summary.

Previous research has suggested that the use of song can facilitate recall of text. This study examined the effect of repetition of a melody across verses, familiarity with the melody, rhythm, and other structural processing hypotheses to explain this phenomenon. Two experiments were conducted, each with 100 participants recruited from undergraduate Psychology programs (44 men, 156 women, M age = 28.5 yr., SD = 9.4). In Exp. 1, participants learned a four-verse ballad in one of five encoding conditions (familiar melody, unfamiliar melody, unknown rhythm, known rhythm, and spoken). Exp. 2 assessed the effect of familiarity in rhythm-only conditions and of pre-exposure with a previously unfamiliar melody. Measures taken were number of verbatim words recalled and number of lines produced with correct syllabic structure. Analysis indicated that rhythm, with or without musical accompaniment, can facilitate recall of text, suggesting that rhythm may provide a schematic frame to which text can be attached. Similarly, familiarity with the rhythm or melody facilitated recall. Findings are discussed in terms of integration and dual-processing theories.

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