Effects of Music on Memory Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Music on Emotions and Behavior

Music and education

Psychological implications

The effect of music on word recall

Several studies have been dedicated to the study of the effect of music on the memory. Most of the studies have been dedicated to the analysis of the way the human mind processes information. The brain has been indicated to be made up of a very complex system of neurons that is actively involved with the transfer of information from one part to the other. A study of the neural networks .The study of the effects of music on the human memory is still ongoing (Kirkweg 2001). Several factors have been found to affect the memory of a person. The most common ones being music, attention, emotion, stress as well as aging.

The mechanism involved

The human memory has been pointed out to be a mental system that is involved with the reception, storage, alteration and recovery of information that is sourced from the sensory input. Sensory memory, the long-term memory and the short-term memory are the three major types of human memory. Information initially enters the sensory memory. This is the part of the memory that holds a replica of data for just a few seconds. The information is then passed to the short-term memory in which only small quantities of the information are held for a short period.The length of time in for which it is held is a little bit more than that for the sensory memory. Selective attention is then employed at this instance so as to regulate the type of information that is transmitted to the short-term memory. The information that is considered unimportant is then erased permanently (Coon 1997).

The short-term memory is also called the working memory and is the pert that describes the problem solving as well as the thinking aspects of a human brain. The short-term memory is important in holding certain bits of information that psychologist George Miller referred to as a "magic number" of 7 bits of information. The bits are the information units like words, phrases and numbers.

It has been shown that music can aid individuals in easily recalling things by effectively reducing the individual's pulse rate as well as relaxing their body. It is easier for one to remember things if one is relaxed with a slower pulse rate (Sherman 2007).Music has been indicated to easily access certain parts and functions of the human brain and hence helping in facilitating a quicker learning process. Other studies have indicated that relaxed pulse rate as well as greatly reduced blood pressure is some of the responses of the body to classical music (O'Donnell 1999)

The information that is held in the short-term memory is done by two main forms of rehearsal. The maintenance rehearsal and the elaborate rehearsal. The maintenance rehearsal is the silently repeating or review of information while the elaborate rehearsal is the connection of the new information with the existing ones

Several areas of the brain are utilized in the processing of information. The hippocampus however, is the part that is responsible for the transfer of information to the long-term memory. This memory type contains all of the important information that is presorted in a limitless storage.

Influence of music on emotions and behavior

Music has been shown to have particularly amazing influence on the human emotions as well as behavior. It has been shown to affect as well as stimulate the various parts of a human brain. This forms the basis of the psychological study of music. Music has been shown to effectively reduce stress, improve relaxation, reduce stress as well as aid in the storage as well as the recalling of information. Music has been shown to reduce the level of stress by the reduction of the amount of a hormone called cortisone that the body releases. This is applicable in the reduction of stress on a day-to-day basis.

Music therapy has been indicated to a revolutionary form of intervention that employs music as well as other musical activities in the alteration of behavior as enhancement of the daily existence of individuals who suffer from certain types of emotional disturbance. Studies reveal that individuals have been making use of music therapy since time immemorial. The Egyptian priests have been pointed out to have made use of incantations in the influencing of the fertility of the Egyptian women. The Greek have also been shown to have used music therapy regularly. They made use of harp music in order to ease the level of illness that curriculum is observed as a tool for aiding students in connecting with the content. The music also sets the tone for the school classes as well as stimulates the student's brain for enhanced intake of the academic materials that they are being taught. Researchers like David James made efforts of incorporating music into their classes. His technique of incorporating music into his classrooms had three distinct steps. These were;

Music Before Class

Music Behind Small Groups

Music After Class (James 2004)

James (2004) argued that the inclusion of music makes the classroom environment to be unique as well as sets a favorable tone to the learning and makes the students to be at ease in their learning process. He further claimed that the greatest benefit of using music in the classroom is based on the fact that that it allows for the realization of "dialogue, discovery, interaction, and engagement" while eliminating the awkward silence in the process of carrying out the classroom assignments. His method employed background music for the learning process. The work of Donald Frantz employed the used of music while correlating with the academic materials that is being covered. His method allowed for the involved connecting elements of literature with elements of music.

Psychological implications

When students are exposed to music and art in their classrooms, it is integral that we acknowledge the psychological implications as well as the effects that music and art would have on the mind of students. Several scholars concur that the psychological outcomes of using music that is integrated into the curriculum is in the end beneficial for various students. It is worth noting that scholars have pointed out that students retain a larger amount of information when they get exposed to music in their learning experience (Corlett 1991,43). Yet again other studies have been dedicated to the study of how the expectations as well as the events in a given musical piece are important in the creation of musical tension as well as relaxation that in the end affects the mind of a person and their actions. These in turn have an influence on their writing and learning skills as well as their interactions in a given classroom setting (Krumhans 2002). The study by Carol Krumhans examined the influence of music on emotion as well as cognition skills. She argued that "Musical emotions change over time in intensity and quality, and these emotional changes co-vary with changes in psycho-physiological measures" (Krumhans 2002,25). As a consequence, the changes in an individual's psycho-physiological parameters can affect an individual's response to things and how they think and write. Her work connects the expression of human emotions in music to the one that appears in speech (Krumhans 2002,46). Her research was reinforced by the one that was carried out by Laura Woodall & Brenda Ziembroski. These two authors conducted a literature review of certain past literature that covered the subject of promoting literacy through music. The interesting part was how music can be used in effectively altering the brain waves in students. This in turn, they argued, made the student's brain to be more receptive to the learning process. They concluded that the stimulation of the brain in various ways via multi-sensorial learning techniques can be beneficial to students in classrooms.

The work of Martin F.Gardiner indicated that a certain form of music training called the Kodaly method included the use of rhythm games as well as the learning of singing of songs that have an increment in their level of difficulty affected the math skills of first and second grade children. The work of Lamb and Gregory indicated that there is a correlation between an individual's ability to effectively discriminate musical sounds as well as their reading performance.It has been pointed out that for students to gain from the use of music in their learning process, the music should be put to play when they are studying. This evokes the question of whether or not the use of music in classroom affects the performance in tests. Several students have been indicated to support the proposition that it really helps. Certain scholars seem to suggest that the performance…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works cited

Ashcraft, Mark H. Learning and Remembering. In J. Mosher, & M. Richardson (Eds.), Cognition (pp.211-257). New Jersey:Pearson Prentice Hall,2006

Carruth, Ellen K., "The Effects of Singing and the Spaced Retrieval Technique on Improving Face-Name Recognition in Nursing Home Residents with Memory Loss, Journal of Music Therapy, 34 (3), 165-186,1997

Coon, Dennis. Essentials of Psychology. New York: Brooks/Cole Publishing,1997

Krumhans, Carol.L. Music: A link between cognition and emotion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(2) 45-50,2002

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