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The Effect Music plays in the Minds Ability to Memorise

The human brain is an amazing thing, more powerful and complex than any computer ever built. The left side of our brain holds all our academic information languages, numeracy and literacy while the right side of our brain is our creative side imagination, music, art and awareness. But certainly one of the most astonishing things about our mind is our memory and how certain actions, words, tunes or scents can trigger a recollection of memories from when you were young. When we listen to music while studying, for example, we are able to recall those memories with ease as we associate them with music, or songs. The Mozart Effect (Center) is the term used to describe How memory works the effect Mozarts compositions have on (Design, 2004) the mind when trying to memorise. Mozart's music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. (O'Donnell, 1999). Studies show that when subjects listened to music, they were able to remember information for weeks, as opposed to those who had only silence, could only remember for a few days. The variable being tested in this experiment is music. What sort of music has the most impact on short-term memory? STM is characterized by: A limited capacity of up to seven pieces of independent information. The brief duration of these items last from 3 to 20 seconds. (Design, 2004)

Will pop, rock or classical music stimulate the brain when playing the classical memory game Simon(Pictured)? Different forms and genres effect how the brain works and remembers. This variable will test which one is the most effective. The Simon is a game that measure our memory retention capacity by generating a growing game sequence of events, in this case colours and sounds, that the player has to repeat. (Neave, n/a) The classical memory game The aim of this experiment is to determine whether the human Simon (Pachal, memory is able to recall and remember colour patterns while 2006) playing the classical memory game Simon. It will determine whether listening to music, or if staying in a silent environment allows us to recollect with more accuracy. The experiment will also find how different genres of music may or may not enable the mind to memorise with more proficiency and precision.

It is hypothesised that classical piano music such as Mozart and Beethoven will allow the test-subject to memorise the colour patterns presented on the Simon game and reach a higher level and time. This is because Mozart and other classical music pieces have been proven to increase brain-activity, which makes patterns, number, images etc. simpler to memorise.

Table 1: Risk Management Hazard Laptop Danger s Headac he, sore eyes, dizzines s Actions Required Drink some water. Take some headache-relief and have a lie down. Disposal (If necessary) Take a break from the computer every now and then to prevent any headaches, sore eyes or dizziness. If pain is really bad, place some ice on sore joints Safety Required Drink plenty of water and avoid looking at the screen for a prolonged amount of time.

Mouse pad

Sore fingers and joints, arthritis

Take a few minutes to stretch out your joints. Do some finger exercises to prevent brittle bones

Take a break from laptop to stretch fingers every 30 minutes or so.

Loud Music

Sore If ears are sore from loud eardrum music, take a break from ear s buds and try to avoid using your ears too much

Take a break from anything loud

Always check volume on laptop before playing any music

All materials were collected and assembled in a silent environment. A laptop was turned on and used to access the internet. When on the internet, an online Simon memory game was used to produce data (Neave, n/a). The test subject used the mouse pad, no mouse. The control test was performed first. These tests were completely silent, no music was playing and no-one was talking. The subject was timed and the final level they reached on the game recorded with paper and a pen. This test was executed three times, each a new Simon game. Each test was silent. The time and final level was recorded and averaged. Test 1 was performed while the test subject listened to Midnight Sonata by Beethoven

(Classical Music). The test subject was given one minute to listen to the song before beginning each classical music test. This test was executed three times, each a new Simon game. The time and final level was recorded and averaged. Test 2 was performed while the test subject listened to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (Rock music). The test subject was given one minute to listen to the song before beginning each rock music test. This test was executed three times, each a new Simon game. The time and final level was recorded and averaged. Test 3 was performed while the test subject listened to Tik Tok by Ke$ha (Pop Music). The test subject was given one minute to listen to the song before beginning each pop music test. This test was executed three times, each a new Simon game. The time and final level was recorded and averaged. The results were analysed when the experiment was finished. All materials were put away. Diagram 1: Turning Laptop on The laptop was taken out and turned on in order to access the Simon game online.

Diagram 2: Playing the Simon game The Simon game was used on the laptop to collect the memory data of this experiment.

Diagram 3: Recording the results

The results were recorded for each test in order to average and analyse.

During the control test it was noted that the test subject was not used to the Simon game and their movements were jerkier without a musical beat. The test subject found it harder to memorise without any sounds to associate with the patterns. During the altered tests, the subject tapped their foot or nodded their head while listening to the music. The musical beats enabled them to easily remember each colour pattern. Table 2: Outcome of Experiment Variable being tested Control Outcome of Experiment Played for an average of 0.94 of a minute (Approximately 56 seconds) Reached an average of level 7.6 Classical Music Played for an average of 1.56 of a minute (Approximately 1 minute 30 seconds) Reached an average of level 11.3 Rock Music Played for an average of 2.27of a minute (Approximately 2 minutes 16 seconds) Reached an average of level 13 Pop Music Played for an average of 0.69 of a minute (Approximately 41 seconds) Reached an average of level 9.6

Graph 1: Individual Time Tests

Graph 2: Individual Level Results

Graph 3: Average Times

Graph 4: Average Levels

It was hypothesised that classical piano music such as Mozart and Beethoven would allow the test-subject to memorise the colour patterns presented on the Simon game and reach a higher level and time. This was because Mozart and other classical music pieces have been proven to increase brain-activity, which makes patterns, number, images etc. simpler to memorise. After completing this experiment and after observing the graphs, we can clearly see that the original hypothesis has been disproved. The original hypothesis stated that classical music would be the most effective in allowing the test subject to memorise the colour patterns presented on the Simon game, yet this experiment has proven that rock music is better for short-term memory. Rock, by far, clocked the largest average time, 2 minutes 16 seconds, which is 46 seconds more than classical, which came in second. Though the control beat pop for time, it came in last for the levels. Pop and Control tie. Though there was a lot of evidence towards classical music for long-term memory, rock won for shortterm. I found the control to be the most difficult as I had no music to time the beats to, the test-subject explained after the experiment. Classical music improved on this slightly, it helped my concentration by calming me down and keeping my heartbeat low even in the final stages of the test. The second hardest was, in my opinion, Ke$ha, as I found it to be distracting rather than helpful. The best was Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana as I found a system to time the beats with the rhythm of the song. This aided my concentration, the test subject analysed. As the test-subject stated, rock music was the easiest to listen to because a rhythm could be established. This enabled them to remember the colour

patterns in the form of tempo. Control, which was complete silence, forced the test-subject to concentrate on creating a pattern from the colours without any motivation, which is why it proved difficult. Pop music is not a very stimulating form of music and auto-tuned beats can be very distracting. Rock winning out over classical may be more personal than scientific. The test-subject in question much prefers rock music over classical. In graph 1, it can clearly be seen that the test subject scored very highly while listening to rock music (test 2). This is an anomaly in the data, not because of any errors made, but because of the simplicity of that particular colour pattern. Each colour pattern was different, so the subject didnt begin remembering each movement. Some colour patterns were quite challenging and really tested the subject, whereas a few were extremely relaxed, just a few colours clumped together. In test 2 for rock music, this was the case. Colours were simply repeated over and over, an easy run for the player. Other errors that may have occurred are technical difficulties with the laptop. This is said because the test-subject claimed the mouse pad button was stuck for a moment and the computer interpreted it as a double click, which subsequently caused them to lose that particular round of Simon. Though this was a recurring error, it does not seem to have affected the data in any particular or major way. During the Control part of the experiment, your environment may not be completely silent, or may have distracting qualities. This occurred during the experiment. There was slight chatter heard from another room and the blow of an air-con overhead. This could seriously divert a subject, and cause there time and level to drop. If this experiment was performed in the future, I would suggest using a desktop computer, not a laptop. This is because laptop mouse keys often do get stuck for a split second which may or may not have major damage on your data. Laptop mouse pads also seem to be harder to move, which may amount in a hefty change in your data, especially if you experience these difficulties while playing Simon. When performing this experiment, the test subject should be taken to a relatively plain room for the duration. This is because you do not want any distractions around them as the subject needs to focus wholly and completely on the music they are listening to and the game they are playing. There are many outlets for memory testing, all very interesting in their own respect. Perhaps you could simply be testing memory or maybe you could be testing to find the best place to study? Another, and much larger, experiment that could be conducted in light of this one is the testing of the best environment in which to study. How well do certain individuals work under different circumstance. Variables you could test would be: Temperature (Freezing cold, warm or hot?) Environment (Noisy or quiet?) Music Time (Late at night, early morning or midday?)

Compiling all this information, tested on at least three different individuals, would allow us to interpret what conditions a person memorises. This would be extremely helpful for people when studying tests. They would be able to test themselves and find their optimum memorising environment. Find out when people work their best and they will be able to recollect each and every answer on that test they studied for, under those exact conditions. To conclude, this experiment would benefit many people, students in particular, as it would allow them to remember with accuracy and correctness.

Appendix
Raw data: Table 3: Control (Test 1) Test #1 Control Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Average Table 4: Test 2 Test #2 Classical Music Test 1 Time 1:53:22 minutes 14 Level Time 1:11:46 minutes 49:06 seconds 51:02 seconds 56 seconds 9 7 7 7.6 Level

Test 2 Test 3 Average Table 5: Test 3 Test #3 Rock Music Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Average Table 6: Test 4 Test #4 Pop Music Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Average

1:10:07 minutes 1:39:18 1:30 minutes

9 11 11.3

Time 54:61 seconds 3:51 minutes 2:06:19 minutes 2:16 minutes 8 18 13 13

Level

Time 2:21 minutes 59:33 seconds 45:14 seconds 41 seconds 14 8 7 9.6

Level

Bibliography
Center, T. M. (n.d.). What is the Mozart Effect? Retrieved 03 15, 2011, from The Mozart Effect Resource Center: http://www.mozarteffect.com/MoreOnTME/WhatIsTME.html