A Study on Effect of Music on Working Memory in Healthy Young Adults
Background and Aim: Working memory is divided into two independent subsystems: the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. In normal day to day life, we may use both these subsystems together as in listening to music while studying. This study aims to investigate whether this interaction is beneficial or not. The present study sought to determine the effect of different types of music on working memory. Methods: 20 Male and 13 young healthy female volunteers were included in the study. They were shown and asked to remember textual and facial information in the presence of different varieties of background music. They were asked to recall as many as they could soon after. Their subjective feelings about the music and their performance while memorizing and recalling for each task was also taken and compared with their original performance. Their performance in presence of different music was also compared. Results: It was found in this study that music had no effect on short term textual memory or face recognition memory, but if the tone played in the background expresses similar emotion as that of the face seen (e.g. joyful music with happy facial expression) it may positively help in memory encoding and recalling as pointed out by our subjective recalling scores. Discussion: While memorizing textual and facial pieces of information, different people respond differently to the music in the background as confirmed by our current study. But while comparing the subjective scores in the presence of different varieties of music, it was found that the emotional tone conveyed by background music can influence subsequent memory for emotional details of an event, indicating the cross-modal nature of memory for emotional aspects of situations.
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