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How Changing the Genre of Music Affects Memory by Ana Asiste

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Ana A.

on 9 December 2013

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Transcript of How Changing the Genre of Music Affects Memory by Ana Asiste

How Different Genres of Music Affects Memory
by Ana Asisten

1. Gather materials
2. Have subjects sit in a chair, and have subjects sit still.
3. Distribute the piece of paper with words on them.
4. Set timer to 2 minutes.
5. After 2 minutes, collect piece of paper with words on them.
6. Give subject a blank piece of paper and a pencil.
7. Set timer to 2 minutes.
8. Have subject write down as many words as they can remember.
9. After 2 minutes, collect piece of paper.
10. Record how many words they remembered correctly.
11. Have subject listen to 2 minutes of a pop song (before the test).
12. Repeat steps 3-10.
13. Have subject listen to 2 minutes of a post-hardcore song (before the test).
14. Repeat steps 3-10.
15. Have subject listen to 2 minutes of a classical song.
16. Repeat steps 3-10.
17. After completing each test, clean headphones with baby wipes.

Review of Literature: Main Points
A theory called the "Mozart's Effect." The theory is classical music helps with reasoning and improving short-term memory by listening to complex pieces like a two-piano concerto by Mozart.
It's known that trained musicians do better than people who aren't musicians on word memory tests.
Listening to classical music alone boosts your brain activity, and being able to play pieces of classical music increases brain development even more.
Main Points of Conclusion
My hypothesis was proven wrong.
Pop and classical music had on average the same amount of words right on a memory test.
Post-hardcore did on average the worst in memorizing words.
Classical music is still beneficial to our brains.
There was no consistent pattern in my data.
: In the last few years, music has been used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injuries. It’s known to improve memory. Based on my research I learned that classical music helps more with memory than any other type of music.
: Based on my research, I believed that classical music would have the best effect on memorizing a list of words better than any other genre of music because of the rhythm and melody.
: I gave the subject 2 minutes to memorize as many words as they can remember, then gave them 2 minutes to write those words down. Then I gave made the subject listen to a minute of a pop song, then repeated the same steps I did in the first experiment. I repeated these steps 3 times after giving the original test with no music.
: Based on my results, my hypothesis was not correct. My results showed that after listening to both pop and classical music, there was on average 6 words correct for both genres.

In my research, I discovered that music is being used as part of a treatment system for people with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. I chose this topic so I could have a first-hand experience on how music has an affect on our brains and our ability to memorize things.
According to my research, I think that classical music will benefit someone’s memory the most on a word memory test. I found in my research that our brains are affected by classical music by its rhythm and melody. The rhythm of classical music creates more of a neurotransmitter that keeps us feeling happy and joyful. There is also a theory called the “Mozart Effect” which is that that listening to complex pieces of classical music like Mozart’s two-piano concertos will benefit reasoning skills and short-term memory. Classical music in itself benefits our entire brain, just by listening to it you have more brain activity, and being able to play classical music develops your brain even more. With all this information I believe that classical music will benefit someone’s memory on a word test better compared to the other genres of music I will be testing.

Review of Literature
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that affects 5 million people in America alone today. Though there isn’t a cure for it, music being used as therapy is getting more and more popular. But what genres of music affect our memory the most?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is impaired brain function that affects normal social and work habits. If the disease progresses enough, the person could eventually forget how to swallow food, and would have to depend on a feeding tube to eat. There are two drugs approved by the FDA so far that could improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The two drugs approved the FDA are donepezil hydrochloride (Aricept) which increases the brain’s activity, and Tacrine (Cognex), which could improve the memory of people with mild or moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Though Alzheimer’s disease could kill you if left untreated, music is slowly becoming a valid way to treat the disease. Music stimulates our brain and increases neural connections. Not only that, music increases brain efficiency and brain development. It also helps maintain and strengthen brain cells and connections as time wears them down, which would benefit patients with Alzheimer’s because when the disease progresses, it breaks down the connections between the neurons in your brain, but music helps keep those connections strong. Since music helps the connections between neurons is stronger, it increases the capacity of our brain. All these reasons are why music is slowly but surely becoming a way to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Review of Literature (continued)
Music has many benefits for our brain, including improving memory. We have the motor system of our brains, our basal ganglia (which is located in the telencephalon, which is at the front of our brain), our cerebellum, (which is located in the base of our skull, above the brainstem) our auditory and prefrontal cortexs to thank for being able to process music. The motor system lets us learn new music sequences, and learn new music in itself. After you learn a musical sequence, the auditory and prefrontal cortex are used, and those parts of the brain are associated with long-term memory of sounds.
How do sounds help strengthen our brain? Music therapy is your answer. Music is used as treatment or as part of a treatment plan for different neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is because music can be used a trigger to memories that were thought to be forgotten forever. It’s said that familiar songs from our past can trigger this and in some people who have suffered massive brain damage, can even trigger language! Studies show that people with Alzheimer’s disease can recognize song lyrics better when they’re sung for them, rather than spoken to them. Music therapists not only show songs, but they also play different instruments for the patients to help them possibly remember a memory. Music may be used to lessen agitated and aggressive behaviour in people with Alzheimer’s disease, just like any other person would use music for.
Speaking of music therapy and memory and our brains, what is memory? Memory is the process in your brain that stores and remembers things and memories that aren’t physically there or physically happening anymore. We take memory for granted, but it’s necessary for healthy brain function. Everything we do involves some kind of memory, for example, being able to type efficiently on a computer or being able to shoot a basketball involves memory. Without memory, everything that we do would be unknown and new to us again, even if we’ve done it a million times, but without memory, we wouldn’t be able to remember that we did things a million times! Besides needing memory to do a lot of essential (and unessential) things in life, memory is also important with knowing who we are as people, our past memories affect and shape who we are today.

Review of Literature (continued)
Music certainly does affect our brains, but there’s one genre of music that is known to benefit us the most: classical music. The reason classical music affects our brain is by its rhythm and melody. The rhythm causes our brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is involved with the transmission of nerve impulses that keep us feeling happy and joyful. By listening to classical music itself, it increases the activity in your brain. Being able to play pieces of classical music increases your brain’s development tremendously. There’s a theory called the “Mozart’s Effect.” The theory is that classical music helps us with reasoning and short term memory by listening to complex pieces of music, for example, some of Mozart’s two-piano concerto pieces. There have even been studies done where trained musicians and non-musician adults are given word memory tests, and on average the trained musicians do better than the non-musicians.
According to my research, music certainly does affect memory. It’s known that classical music stimulates our brain and improves memory the best. The specific melody and rhythm is what seems to improve our brain function the most. There there isn’t exact proof that classical music is the only genre that stimulates our brain the way that it does, there is strong evidence to support that claim.

Small stack of loose leaf paper.
1 pen
4 pieces of paper with different combinations of words on them (same difficulty of words)
One pair of headphones.
One ipod.
One pack of baby wipes.
Songs Used:
Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
A Match Into Water by Pierce the Veil
Piano Concerto No. 24 in c minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Based on my experiment and the data I recorded, my hypothesis that classical music would be the best choice to memorize words was proven wrong. My results showed that listening to pop music improved the ability to memorize a list of words the best, classical music was the second best in improving the ability to remember words, and post-hardcore music was the worst when it came to remembering a list of words. In this experiment I learned that pop music improved memory the most compared to classical music and post-hardcore music, but overall not listening to any music whatsoever did the best for memorizing words on a word test.
After conducting my experiment, my data did not support my hypothesis. In fact, my results were quite surprising. Because pop music has a more upbeat and faster beat, I hypothesized that pop music would distract my test subjects more than classical music. While I was researching my topic, I found that other experiments were conducted and proved that classical music had big benefits to your brain and improved memory and concentration. Because of this information found, I thought that listening to classical music would have the best effect on memory. It turned out that listening to pop music improved memory by a margin of .2 words on average per person. Though this was a difference, it was a very small difference, and since you can’t have .2 of a word, pop music had an average of 6 words right on a word test, just as classical music had.
This discovery still doesn’t mean my hypothesis was correct because my hypothesis stated that classical music would improve the ability to memorize words. I expected that people would get more words right after listening to classical music, but pop and classical had on average the same amount of words right. I think I got the results I did because classical music isn’t the preference for the majority of teenagers, even though it can improve your brain overall. Because of this discomfort of having to listen to music for a minute, I concluded that this distracted the test subject from being able to memorize words as well as they were capable of if they listened to different types of music. Based on my experimental results, I saw that listening to post-hardcore music had on average the least amount of words right on a word test.
I think I got this result because the very fast paced beat and the screaming involved in the song also distracted the test subject in being able to memorize a list of words.While conducting my experiment, I observed that while the subjects were memorizing the words on a list, they were humming the beat or tapping their foot in the rhythm of the song. This was the comparison between the three different types of music I used, my control test, with no music. The average number of words right without music is 6.8 words, which I rounded up to 7, meaning that not listening to music at all had an overall better effect on being able to memorize words on a word test.

Conclusion (continued)
Like all experiments, there are mistakes and uncontrollable variables involved most of the time. After observing, recording and analyzing my data, I saw that one problem I had with my experiment is the level of dislike the test subject had with the choice of music. While I was conducting my experiment, some observations I noted was obvious discomfort on the choice of songs displayed with a lot of feet moving, tapping constantly on the ground, a lot of shaking and squirming.While conducting my experiment, I made different observations. I noticed the same observations when the subject was remembering as many words as they could after listening to the discomforting music. Another thing I saw was I was verbally told the music was discomforting to them, most of the time they did poorly on that particular test than they did on any other. Another thing I noted after I completed my experiment was that all my test subjects were boys. If I were to do my experiment again, I would test a group of girls next time, using the same procedure I used in my original experiment. I could also change two of the genres of music, and compare those results to the classical music which I would keep the same because that’s what I discovered in my research was the most effective in improving memory. If I were to do my experiment again a third time, I would have an equal amount of boys and girls in my trials and at the end, compare the average results between the boys and girls. Another thing I would do is take a list of the ten most popular songs of the this year, and do the same test as I did for my original experiment. I don’t think I would get the same results if I ever did my experiment again even with the same people because it’s almost impossible to control every single factor that could contribute to a person’s ability to memorize words. For example, their mood, their ability to memorize things, and their taste in music could change.
This experiment is relevant to the real world because while doing my research, I discovered that music is used to improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, and has made people with Parkinson’s disease move, sing and talk again. I found that familiar songs trigger memories from the past that were thought to be forgotten, and I found that classical music improves our brain function because of the rhythm and melody. My experiment was also relevant to the real world because I know many teenagers study and do homework with music, and I’ve been curious as to what genre of music is the most effective in being able to remember things. Though it’s known that music in general has an effect on our brains and memory, I found that classical music benefits our memory the most. Even though pop and classical music had on average the same amount of words on a word test right, it is still recommended to listen to classical music once in a while to improve our brain function.
I would like to thank all my friends that helped me make my experiment possible, and my parents for supporting my love for music. A special thanks to Mr.Medintz for being a guide throughout this whole process.
Reference List
1. "Alzheimer's Disease." Sick!. Ed. David Newton and Donna Olendorf. Online ed. Detroit: UXL, 2009.Student Resource Center - Junior. Gale. Burley. 26 Sep. 2013

2. Brooks, Iris. "Music and medicine.(THE ARTS)." World and I. 28. 4 (April 2013): NA. Student Resource Center - Junior. Gale. Burley. 26 Sep. 2013

3. Doorey, Marie. "Memory." Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 4th ed. Detroit: Gale Group, 2008. Student Resource Center - Junior. Gale. Burley. 26 Sep. 2013

4. Ehrenberg, Rachel. "Take two stanzas and call me in the morning.(A MIND FOR MUSIC)." Science News. 178. 4 (August 14, 2010): 32(1). Student Resource Center - Junior. Gale. Burley. 20 Sep. 2013

5. http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Alzheimers_2006.pdf

6. "Why Music Matters for Alzheimer's Patients." Why Music Matters for Alzheimer's Patients. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2013. <http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/health/2009/feb/Why-Music-Matters-for-Alzheimer-s-Patients.html>.

7. http://acda.org/files/ChorTeach-Vol2%20no1_Hampton,%20A.pdf

8. "This Is Your Brain on Music: Researchers Discover Two-Part Process." Georgetown University. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2013. <http://www.georgetown.edu/news/music-brain-research-2012.html>.

9. "Effect of Classical Music on the Brain." Effect of Classical Music on the Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2013. <http://www.classicalforums.com/articles/Music_Brain.html>.

10. "Latest Facts & Figures Report | Alzheimer's Association." Latest Facts & Figures Report | Alzheimer's Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2013. <http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp>.
There were no persons harmed during any part of the process that was my experiment. No risks of being harm physically or mentally were incorporated in my experiment.
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