Title

The Effect of Step-Wise Verus Intervallic Melodies on Novel Narrative Recall

Poster Number

7

Lead Author Affiliation

Music Therapy

Introduction

Music has long been utilized as a mnemonic device; however, existing evidence on the effectiveness of music and memory tends to focus on variables other than the characteristics of the music itself. To understand what makes music an effective mnemonic device, it is important to identify which musical characteristics aid or hinder its effectiveness as a memory tool. A study by Wallace (1994) found that easily learned melodies enhanced the recall of text over all other variables of the music. Therefore, the current study will explore the influence of melody on recall.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of stepwise versus intervallic melody as a mnemonic device for recall of novel, narrative material. Specific objectives were: (a) To determine whether narrative recall differs for information embedded within a melody versus information embedded within rhythm alone; and (b) To determine whether there are differences in narrative recall between textual information embedded in a stepwise versus intervallic melody.

Method

Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions using a random number generator. Participants were then exposed to a 22-word narrative passage under one of the three presentation conditions: (a) a stepwise melodic method; (b) an intervallic melodic method; or (c) a rhythmically spoken method. A recording of the sung or spoken text was presented for five learning trials through headphones (with protective, sanitary headphone covers). After the first, third, and fifth trials, participants wrote down what they remembered. During an interference trial, participants were exposed to another story (the other narrative not learned) and were directed to write down all that was remembered after the first, third, and fifth trials. Following the distraction trials, participants were asked to recall the first story from the initial learning trials.

Results

Twenty-seven adults (25 female) ages 18 to 36 years (M = 20.15 years) participated in the current study and preliminary analyses are reported here. Difference in recall scores (i.e., following interference) between the melodic and non-melodic conditions was not statistically significant, t(25) = -1.742, p =.094, Cohen’s d = -0.67. Similarly, there was no significant difference in mean recall scores between the two melodic conditions (stepwise versus intervallic), t(10) = .656, p =.527, Cohen’s d = 0.41.

Significance

Initial results from this currently ongoing study suggest that melody has no notable impact on the recall of novel narrative material. Furthermore, the influence of melody type (either stepwise or intervallic) did not produce a significant effect with regard to recall. What is not known, however, is the influence of rhythm on recall as the stimuli for all experimental conditions (whether melodic or spoken) were presented rhythmically. Additionally, all stimuli were presented using a female vocalist which stands in contrast to other investigations exploring musical mnemonics wherein male vocalists have been traditionally used. Additional limitations (including sample size, stimulus presentation, and other sources of error) will be discussed by the researchers.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Format

Poster Presentation

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Apr 25th, 10:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 PM

The Effect of Step-Wise Verus Intervallic Melodies on Novel Narrative Recall

DeRosa University Center, Stockton campus, University of the Pacific

Music has long been utilized as a mnemonic device; however, existing evidence on the effectiveness of music and memory tends to focus on variables other than the characteristics of the music itself. To understand what makes music an effective mnemonic device, it is important to identify which musical characteristics aid or hinder its effectiveness as a memory tool. A study by Wallace (1994) found that easily learned melodies enhanced the recall of text over all other variables of the music. Therefore, the current study will explore the influence of melody on recall.