The Effects of Music Type and Volume on Memorization
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
MOORE, L. -. (1999). The Effects of Music Type and Volume on Memorization. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved July 26, 2017 .

The Effects of Music Type and Volume on Memorization
LEASA -. MOORE
-NONE- DEPARTMENT OF

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
Due to todays popularity of high-fi stereo equipment and louder music, students are finding it harder to study. The purpose of this experiment was to test what effects music type and volume have on memorization.

The participants were asked to take a memory test while entering a room with one of four interventions in progress. Heavy metal style music with volume levels soft or loud or classical style with volume levels set at soft or loud. The number of correct words recalled from the wordlist was recorded. Similar to previous studies music type seemed to have no effect on memory scores, however there was a slight increase in the number of errors for participants who were exposed to high volume levels.

The data were calculated with two 2X2 factorial ANOVA. No significant difference was found between three of the four main effects. Results of music type (F(1,36) = .2, p > .657)and high volume levels on correct responses (F(1,36) =.116 p.735) memory test scores showed no significance level. Like-wise low volume levels did not effect correct responses (F(1,36) (F(1,36)= 1.26 p > .27). It appears that neither music type or volume has any effect on the number of correct responses on a memory test. Those students that were exposed to high volume levels of music did have a slight increase in the number of errors (F(1,36) = 9.8, p > .003).

Better control of extraneous noises and longer exposure time of the musical interventions could improve reliability and variable accuracy. Future research ideas could include an intervention of a person speaking, for example talk radio or audio books.


INTRODUCTION
One hundred years ago there were not as many distractions for students as compared to the present day students. In todays society, recreational and occupational background noise is causing hearing loss at early age levels and it is uncertain how this is effecting cognitive processes There has been little significant research that correlates a relationship on how background music may or may not effect study habits and quality. Many students feel like background music helps them with their studying. Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) found that performance improved on abstract/spatial reasoning tests after participants listened to Mozart as opposed to a relaxation tape or silence. No difference was noted between the latter two interventions. According to a study by Barber, McKenzie, and Helme (1997), the human brain responds differently to classical music than it does to rock style music. They measured brain activity from the scalp with an electrode cap worn by the participant called an (QEEG), quantitative electroencephalography. The recently popular trend of individuals listening to Mozart music in order to become smarter, all began with Alfred Tomatis. It is known as "the Mozart Effect," but only one study showed significant results and other studies have been unsuccessful in replicating the first finding (Halpern, 1997). This hypothesis has exploded onto the market place which contains an abundance of products that are purported to improve mental capacity, intelligence and relaxation. An experiment conducted by Ison et al, involving mice was used to gain a better understanding of how age and gap threshold affect the auditory systems response level to noise. Hall and Grose(1994) have generalized these finds to human children, reinforcing that the sensitivity of the asymptote determines startle reflex, not time constants or the gaps of noise. Contradictory to the Rauscher et.al. study (1993), the McFarland and Kennison study assumptions are that the right hemisphere of the brain processes the music. Participants require greater effort to successfully learn a task with the presence of music. Their assumptions were supported by the data they collected. Thus, music makes learning more difficult. Therefore, the purpose of this experiment will be to test the effects that music type and volume have on the memorization of students.


METHOD
Participants The participants in this study were 20 Physical Therapy Assistant students both male and female (varying ages), and was conducted on the campus of Missouri Western State College. The college is located in northwest Missouri in the city of St. Joseph. Participants will be selected by voluntary method. It was assumed that all participants had normal hearing.

Materials Items included in this experiment were a Realistic soundlevel meter 33-2080, Aiwa brand compact disk stereo player, 2 compact disks, and a memory test. The memory test consisted of two different word lists of 25 capital cities in the United States. The classical music was entitled "Jesu, Joy of Man`s Desiring" from Cantata No. 147, Johann Sebastian Bach. The heavy metal selection was "Hells Bells", AC/DC Back in Black.Procedure Testing occurred in 4, twenty-minute sessions. Participants entered the test room with one of the possible four interventions in progress. Heavy metal style music with volume levels soft or loud or classical style music with volume levels set at soft or loud. Soft music was played at 55 decibels and loud music was played at 70 decibels both musical sources were 10 feet away from the participants. A memory test was present, face down at the participant`s seat. The researcher instructed the participants that on the cue they were to turn over the word list in front of them and given two minutes to review it. On the second cue they would return list face down and were then given three minutes to recall as many words as possible.The number of correct and incorrect responses were recorded with the two types of interventions that were present at test time.


RESULTS
Two 2X2 with in subjects factorial ANOVA were calculated comparing music type and volume to memory test scores. The ANOVA test was calculated in order to compare music volume levels and music type on correct test responses. The main effect for volume level on correct responses was not significant (F(1,36)= 1.26,p= .27). The main effect for music type on the number of correct responses was not significant (F(1,36)=.686,p = .413).The volume by music type interaction was not significant (F(1,36) =.116 p=.735).Thus it appears that neither music type or volume has any effect on the number of correct responses on a memory test.

A significant main effect for high volume levels and the number of errors was found (F(1,36)= 9.8,p = .003). The test found no difference between music type and memory test responses (F(1,36)= .2,p= .657).The volume by music type interation was not significant (F(1,36)=.2,p= .657).Those students exposed to high volume levels of music made more errors than those who were not.


DISCUSSION
Initially, it was expected that music type and volume would have a strong relationship to students performance on the memory test. Statistical analysis showed a weak relationship between music type and test performance. There was a slight decrease in the test scores of students exposed to high volume music levels. They had an increase in the number of errors compared to participants exposed to low volume levels. These findings concur with the McFarland and Kennison (1987), which showed that no difference was found in the performance of participants on abstract/spatial reasoning tests after listening to Mozart, a relaxation tape or silence. The McFarland and Kennison study, found that the right hemisphere of the brain processes music thus requiring greater effort to learn a task while music was in the background. The use of a sound proof room and longer exposure time of the musical interventions could possibility result in greater reliability and variable accuracy. Future research ideas could include cultural or personality differences of volume levels and concentration.


REFERENCES
Halpern, S. Missouri Western State College (1999, March). Mozart Effect Resource Center . [online:http://www.innerpeacemusic.com/monthly/dec97.htm]. Rauscher. F.H., Shaw G.L., & Ky K.N. (1993, October). Music and Spatial task performance. Nature,365, 611. Barber, B., McKenzie, S., & Helme, R. (1997). A Study of Brain Electrical Responses to Music using Qantitative Electroencephalography. International Journal of Arts Medicine,5, 12-21. McFarland, R.A., & Kennison, R.F. (1987). Asymmetrical effects of music upon spatial-sequential learning. Journal of General Psychology, 115, 263-272. Hall, J.W., & Grose, J.H. (1994). Development of temporal resolution in children as measured by the temporal modulation transfer function. Journal Acoustical Society of America,96,150-154. Ison, J.R., Agrawal, P., Pak, J., & Vaughn, W. (1998). Changes in temporal acuity with age and with hearing impairment in the mouse: A study of the acoustic startle reflex and its inhibition by brief decrements in noise level. Journal Acoustical Society of America,104, 1696-1704.

Submitted 5/4/99 6:39:07 AM
Last Edited 5/4/99 7:18:29 PM
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