Type of Document Dissertation Author Jones, Jennifer Dawn URN etd-07072006-125410 Title The Effects of Music Training and Selective Attention on Working Memory During Bimodal Processing of Auditory and Visual Stimuli Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jayne M. Standley Committee Chair Clifford K. Madsen Committee Member Jeffrey James Committee Member John Geringer Committee Member Keywords
- Music Training
- Melodic Recognition
- Selective Attention
- Bimodal Processing
- Working Memory
Date of Defense 2006-06-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractResearchers have investigated participantsí abilities to recall various auditory and visual stimuli presented simultaneously during conditions of divided and selective attention. These investigations have rarely used actual music as the auditory stimuli. Music researchers have thoroughly investigated melodic recognition, but non-complimentary visual stimuli and attention conditions have rarely been applied during such studies. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of music training and selective attention on recall of paired melodic and pictorial stimuli in a recognition memory paradigm.
A total of 192 music and non-music majors viewed one of six researcher-prepared training videotapes containing eight images sequenced with a highly familiar music selection and an unfamiliar music selection under one of three attention conditions: divided attention, selective attention to music, and selective attention to pictures. A 24-question posttest presented bimodal test items that were paired during the training, paired distractors, a music trainer with a picture distractor, or a picture trainer with a music distractor. Total correct scores, error scores by modality, and scores by question type were obtained and analyzed.
Results indicated that there were significant differences between music and non-music majorsí recall of the bimodal stimuli under selective attention conditions. Music majors consistently outperformed non-music majors in divided attention and selective attention to music conditions, while non-music majors outperformed music majors during selective attention to pictures. Music majors were better able to reject distractor music than were non-music majors. Music majors made fewer music errors than non-music majors. However, an unanticipated effect of gender was found. Females were better at recognizing paired trainers and males were better at rejecting distractors for both music conditions. Individually selected memory strategies did not significantly impact total scores.
Analyses of sample error rates to individual questions revealed memory effects for music due to serial position and rhythmic complexity of stimuli. Participants poorly recalled the final measure of both music conditions. This finding was unusual since this position is generally memorable in serial recall tasks. Simple rhythmic contexts were not remembered as well as more complex ones. The measures containing four quarter notes were not well recalled, even when tested two times.
This study confirmed that selective attention protocols could be successfully applied to a melodic recognition paradigm with participants possessing various levels of music training. The effect of rhythmic complexity on memory requires further investigation, as does the effect of gender on recognition of melody. A better understanding of what makes a melody memorable would allow music educators and music therapists the opportunity to devise and teach effective strategies.
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