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The Effects of Genre of Music on Memory Retention

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The existing experiment was conducted to confirm the effects of genre of music on memory retention. With the knowledge that music does have an effect on human mind and body, background information and our previous experience with music gave us this hypothesis. Certain types of music are known to activate the left and right parts of the brain, which maximizes learning and aids in memory retention (Heathman,2011). Responses to music are easy to be detected in the human body. Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. (O’Donnell, 1999) . Classical and rock genre were used as an independent variables in this study. A post test and pretest design was used to examine the difference between the memory retention of the participant who listened to rock music and those participants who were listened to classical music. The results of the experiments indicated that genre of music does have effects on memory retention of the participants. The result also provided evidence for a relation between music and memory function of the listener.


Most people, especially students were trying to find an effective way to maximize learning and retention of information. Music has an ability to activate the left and right hemisphere of our brain simultaneously. Also, activities which involve music causes the brain to be more capable of processing information. The power of music to affect an individual’s memory was quite intriguing. When you listen to music you know, it stimulates the hippocampus, which handles long-term storage in the brain. Doing so can also bring out relevant memories you made while listening to a particular song (Klowoski,2011). The idea that forming a new memory with music, and then using the same music again later to recall the memory still appears to be a sound idea. If you’re having trouble remembering something, you might have better luck if you play the same music you were listening to when you first made the thought. The memory is a mental system that receives stores, organizes, alters and recovers information from sensory input. Sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory are the three basic types. Information first enters sensory memory, which holds an exact copy of the data for a few seconds.

Short-term memory is the next step, and it holds small quantities of information for a brief period longer than sensory memory. Selective attention is utilized at this time to regulate what information is transferred to short-term memory. Unimportant information is removed permanently (Coon, 1997). Rock music is believed to be disturbing to some individuals, but ironically some find it as an effective alternative pattern of studying. On the other hand, Classical music has a soothing effect to its listeners that help them to function more in retaining information. Rock music is known to help with visual memory retention but not learning memory retention. Classical music is more harmonic while rock music is more rhythmic.

Rhythmic music makes listeners more passionate, raising adrenaline, while harmonic music makes listeners more contemplative. Studies have shown that exposure to rock music causes learning and memory retention problems because the rhythm acts in the same way a drug do. However, the brain does create a strong association between rock music and what is happening visually when you hear the song. So, regardless of conditions, when you hear a rock music song, your brain will automatically associate it with the first time you heard it (Heathman, 2011) This study aims to recognize the effects of genre of music on memory retention of an individual to provide them an easy way of working especially with the use of memory and daily processing of information.

Does genre of music affects the retention of information in memory?

Ho – Genre of music does not affect the retention of information in memory of students from the College of Arts and Sciences. H1 –Sgenre of music affects the retention of information in memory of students from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Significance of the Study
This study will serve as the guidelines to student, faculty, and other researchers to be able to discover an effective way of retaining an information in our memory. This will also serve as a reference for future studies about music and retention of information. Methods

The participants were thirty students from College of Arts and Sciences department of New Era University. The thirty students were randomly selected and voluntarily performed the said experiment with proper instruction. Design

A post- test only design was used to examine the effect of two genres of music- classical and rock, to the retention of information in the memory of the participants. The Independent variable is the genre of music and the dependent variable is the retention of information. Materials

The materials that were used in this experiment were music players, headset or headphone, a copy of the excerpt that will be memorized, and a timer. Rock Music used: Slayer from the south (Instrumental)

Classical Music used: Canon D (Instrumental)
Excerpt from Nicholas Sparks’ novel, Dear John (For Rock Music)
“I’ve worked with soldiers on all sides of political spectrum: I’ve met some whoted the army and others who wanted to make it a caree. I’ve met geniuses and idiots but when all is said and done, we do what we do for one another. For friendship. Not for country, not for patriotism, not because were programmed killing machines. But because of the guy next to you.” Procedure

Participants were requested to listen to a rock music while reading an excerpt for a duration of 1 minute. They were asked to recite the lines that they remembered from the piece. Each words that they stated were counted and recorded. The same procedure were done for the classical music with same excerpt.

The effects of two genres of music –classical and rock music are tested. A t-test for two independent groups has run on the scores data with an alpha level of .05. The scores made by the classical music group has a mean score of 21.93 while the scores made by the rock music group was a mean score of 15.07. High scores are in the classical music group while low scores are in the rock music group. The researchers discovered that the effect of genres of music –classical and rock music has significance: t(0.5)= 2.05, t-computed value of 3.10. Discussion

The experiment was designed to examine the effect of music genre on the memory retention of the participants. The hypothesis was that the genres of music have a significant effect on the memory retention of the participants. The result of the performed experiment was genres of music have considerable effect on the memory retention. Previews studies revealed the effect of music on retention of information in memory. For example, a Glasgow Caledonian University (2006) study monitored the brain activity of a group of volunteers who performed a simple memory test while listening to rock and classical music.

The researchers found that classical music improved the memory in both classical music fans and rock fans, while rock music enhanced the memory of rock fans only. From this data, researchers extrapolated that listening to any kind of music can aid memory, provided it’s a type of music you enjoy. A test performed by researchers at the University of Texas in 1982 demonstrated how background music can help students memorize vocabulary words. The researchers separated students into three groups. The first group imagined the study words while listening to George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music.” The second group read the study words while listening to the same music as group 1, and the third group used no music at all. Students in groups 1 and 2 both received better scores than those in group 3.

This study proved the effects of genres of music, namely, rock and classical, on the retention of information in our memory. Future experiments should continue to explore the effects of genre of music on memory retention of an individual to know if a certain genre of music has a significant effect on cognitive processes of an individual.

Since the t – computed value of 3.10 is greater than the critical value of 2.05 at 0.05 level of significance of with 28 degrees of freedom, the null hypothesis is rejected in favor of the research hypothesis. This means that there is significant difference between the effect of genres of music –classical and rock music on the memory of the participants.

It implied that the participants who listened to the classical genre of music which recorded a mean score of 21.93 has a greater effect than the rock genre of music which recorded a mean score of 15.07.


Heathman, S. (2011). Different Kind of Music that Help Memory Retention. Retrieved date January 29, 2013 from http://www.ehow.com/list_6711899_different-kinds-music-memory-retention.html#ixzz2I3PbLjLA O’Donnell, L. (1999). Music and Brain. Retrieved date January 29, 2013 from http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html

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