DETERMINING THE CORRELATION BETWEEN MUSIC AND THE MEMORY RETRIEVAL ABILITY OF THE GRADE 10-11 STUDENTS FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR 2018- 2019 OF GOVERNOR’S HILLS SCIENCE SCHOOL
Simran A. Madhar
Mr. Ikko M. Oquias
This research aims to validate the study of Janina A. M. Lehmann and Tina Seufert on The Influence of Background Music on Learning in the Light of Different Theoretical Perspectives and the Role of Working Memory Capacity.
Validity is one of the main concerns with research. “As a process, validation involves collecting and analyzing data to assess the accuracy of a research” (Biddix, 2009). It tests the correctness of the results of studies, experiments and other research to establish reliability. Reliability and validity are directly related to each other. “The reliability of the instrument is the extent to which an instrument of measure yields the same result when used repeatedly. This involves the agreement of measuring instruments over time, where a test-retest is conducted” (Lai, 2013). This is why this validation study will be conducted and why it will be using the same measuring instruments and study design used by the original research being validated. Thus, the purpose of this study is to replicate the research design and see if it will produce the same results.
This chapter includes the background which provides the context and the bases for the validation study. The second part covers the problems or the focus of this study and the original study it will be validating. The third part states the hypotheses of the researchers.
I. Background of the Study
Music has become a huge part of the everyday life of many people. They listen to music for a variety of reasons such as recreation, distraction or mood enhancement; and one way that people use music is to aid them in studying (Jäncke, 2008).
Many students believe that listening to music while studying is a way to help them focus and learn better (Klemm, 2013). There are research that confirm this belief (Hallam et al., 2002; de Groot, 2006) and there are those that found a negative impact of music on learning outcomes (Furnham ; Bradley, 1997; Ransell ; Gilroy, 2001). There are also research that found no correlation between the two (Moreno ; Mayer, 2000; Jäncke and Sandmann, 2010). Given the varying results, “it is unclear whether listening to music actually helps students sustain their attention while studying” (Widerman, 2008, p. 1).
Lehmann and Seufert (2017) used three theoretical approaches as bases for their study – the Mozart effect, arousal-mood effect and, the seductive detail effect. These theoretical approaches will be used as bases for this research as well since they represent every possible outcome for the study, namely: direct positive influence, indirect influence and negative influence, respectively. The Mozart effect, according to Rauscher et al. (1993), claimed that people perform better on tests of spatial abilities after listening to Mozart’s music. The arousal-mood-hypothesis of Husain et al. (2002), on the other hand, claimed that music can only influence learning through the right music mood. Lastly, the seductive details effect claimed that background music is a distraction and, therefore, a hindrance to learning (Rey, 2012).
Lehmann and Seufert’s (2017) study hypothesized that background music does not influence academic performance at all, and this was confirmed by their study. Thus, this validation study aims to test the accuracy of this result. Following the methodology of the original research being validated, the data for this study will be collected from 80 students of Governor’s Hills Science School, Grade 10-11. Half of the sample will be listening to background music while reading and the other half will read in silence. The rest of the design of the study will be discussed in the methodology chapter of this study.
II. Statement of the Problem
1. How does Lehmann and Seufert understand the correlation of music and memory retrieval?
2. How does listening to background music while studying affect the students’ memory retrieval skills?
2.1. Does the lack of music affect Governor’s Hills Science School Grade 10-11’s memory retrieval ability?
2.2. Does the presence of music affect Governor’s Hills Science School Grade 10-11’s memory retrieval ability?
3. Is there a significant difference between the memory retrieval skills of Group A and Group B?
1. Lehmann and Seufert (2017) believed that there is neither a positive, nor a negative impact on recall, and no compensation effect. According to Salamé and Baddeley (1989), as background music is always processed first there is not enough capacity left to work on cognitively demanding comprehension tasks. To conclude their research, Lehmann and Seufert (2017) stated that this was the only association they found between background music and learning outcomes, direct or indirect.
2. Contradicting the Mozart effect, background music does not have a direct – either positive or negative – influence on the memory retrieval skills of students. There is also no mediation effect between background music and arousal.
2.1. No, it does not affect their memory retrieval. “External stimuli such as background music can act as memory cues to improve task performance” (Ting ; Karthigeyan, 2009). Due to the lack of music there is no external stimuli to affect their memory retrieval.
2.2. Listening to background music will not affect the memory retrieval skills of Grade 10-11 students. Lehmann and Seufert’s (2017) data collection took place in group sessions and results showed that the sessions did not yield any change in the memory retrieval skills of the participants.
3. There will be no significant difference between the cognitive performance of groups A and B. Results of Lehmann and Seufert’s (2017) study showed that background music neither hindered nor fostered learning. Hence, background music will not have any effect at all on the memory retrieval skills of students and results will show very little to no difference in the post test scores of groups A and B.
IV. Significance of the study
GHSS Students Grade 10 – 11 – The study directly affects this group of individuals entirely since they are the main focus of this research. The study will benefit these students as they will be able to create better learning strategies, using the information they’ve accumulated.
Parents/Guardians of the students – This study will provide an awareness of the effect of music on the memory retrieval of their children, thus allowing them to provide a more conducive environment for studying for their children.
Teachers – The research will provide the teachers with more information on the connection between music and memory retrieval, helping them create more effective teaching plans for their students.
Past Researchers – The research can be used as validation for past research.
Future Researchers – Future researchers who have chosen a similar study may find this helpful to their own study as this study may be used as reference data in conducting new research or in testing the validity of the other related findings.
The researchers – The finding in this study will be serving as a good source of accurate and useful information.
Psychologists – The findings in this study can give them more information about the memory retrieval of students.
V. Theoretical Framework
Figure I. shows a flow chart of the method of the present research.
This study will be using the three theoretical approaches mentioned above: the Mozart effect, arousal-mood effect and seductive detail effect. The same approaches were used in the Lehmann and Seufert (2017) study because they are the most well-known approaches in each outcome, especially the Mozart effect.
The Mozart effect claimed that background music has a direct and positive influence on the learning and cognitive abilities of an individual (Rauscher et al., 1993). Rauscher et al.’s (1993) study tested the spatial ability of the participants of their experiment. One group listened to Mozart’s sonata for two pianos for 10 mins while the other did not listen to any music. Participants who listened to Mozart outperformed the other group. This shows a direct, positive influence of listening to Mozart as background music while studying on spatial abilities.
Much like Rauscher et al.’s, (1993) experiment, the present study will be using the method of using one group listening to a background music and the other not listening to any music. One significant difference, though, is that the participants of this study will not be listening to any Mozart sonata since Lehmann and Seufert’s (2017) study did not use classical music.
The Mozart effect is an important theoretical approach because it is the most popular study that yielded a positive result on the effect of background music to cognitive performance (Lehmann & Seufert, 2017). It set the baseline and started the curiosity about the effects of background music and other factors surrounding it to cognitive performance.
The Mozart effect was, however, challenged by Husain, et al.’s (2002) study where they formulated the arousal-mood-hypothesis. This next approach found that the Mozart effect is actually a consequence of changes in arousal and mood (Husain et al., 2002). Their study also used a Mozart sonata in conducting the experiment. The sonata was edited to produce four different versions with varying tempos (speed of music) and modes (key of music). Their findings showed that the spatial ability of the participants was superior after listening to music at a faster tempo and when the music is at a major key (Husain et al., 2002). The tempo affected the arousal of the participants, while the mode affected the mood. Therefore, the Mozart effect’s occurrence is dependent on the changes in the tempo and mode of the music, and their influence on the arousal and mood of the listener (Husain et al., 2002).
In the present study, Husain et al.’s (2002) findings will be used to verify one of Lehmann and Seufert’s (2017) conclusion that refuted Husain et al.’s (2002) results. Lehmann and Seufert (2017) claimed that they “did not find a mediation effect between background music and arousal or mood on learning outcomes.” It will also be used in the follow up questions for the participants on how the music made them feel and how they think it affected their performance in the test.
Unlike the first two approaches above that showed a positive influence of background music on spatial abilities, this third approach found that background music has a negative impact on cognitive performance. Rey’s (2012) meta-analysis on the seductive detail effect revealed that background music, a seductive but irrelevant information, hinders a listener from doing a task well. In other words, it is a distraction and therefore, shows that background music has a negative influence on learning.
To complete the coverage of outcomes, Rey’s (2012) meta-analysis yielded a negative result on the influence of background music on learning. His study will be used in the follow up questions for the participants as well. Included in the questions would be if the background music distracted them, helped them, or had no effect on them at all.
VI. Scope and Limitations
This study aims to investigate the research of Lehmann and Seufert on The Influence of Background Music in Learning.
The researchers will be unable to use advanced technology, which could have been of assistance when gaining more detailed data, this could make it difficult for the study to be exact. However, as the researchers are conducting a validation study the data needed was already collected by the original researchers, Janina A. M. Lehmann and Tina Seufert, therefore allowing the present researchers to present a more accurate study.
The researchers can only access limited websites and articles, which could lead to the conclusion being affected. However, since the researchers’ are validating a past study all the information needed are already present.
VII. Definition of Terms
Music – Vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
Memory Retrieval -Memory retrieval refers to the recollection or recalling of information that was learnt
The Mozart effect – The Mozart Effect, a theory that states that listening to classical music will make you smarter. ( Dr. Gordon Shaw, 1990)
Mood-Arousal Hypothesis – A hypothesis which suggests that the mood of music can induce physiological arousal (“happy” music resulting in a high arousal, positive mood state; “sad” music resulting in a low arousal, negative mood state), causing a direct impact on cognitive performance (Schellenberg and Husain, 2001)
Review of Related Literature
This chapter presents the related literature and studies . This will give a proper guideline to the research work and enable integration of the past study leading to the expansion of knowledge.
“It’s fair to to say the majority of students prefer to study while listening to music. Whether frantically cramming some last-minute reading to Kanye, or finalising an essay to the sound of the Arctic Monkeys, go to any university or college library and the majority of students there will be listening to their music of choice” (Baker, 2016). Students choose a different genre of music when it comes to studying whether it be writing an essay, reading, or memorizing it will always be different.
Music is something that is produce by man that can be form into a work of art or complement the activities (Titon, 2009). Listening to music while doing an activity can lift up the mood. It can calm you while studying, uplift you when you feel down or make you dance to the beat. Music was defined as a form of entertainment that lessens boredom (Milliman, 1982). People use music to lighten up the mood when the atmosphere is dull.