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It must be something in the way she sings!

November 24th, 2015 4 comments

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.28.20 PMSo it’s a Sunday afternoon and you are walking to lunch, the library, or the gym, and all of a sudden you start to sing the words to a song and it seems to come out of nowhere! Has this ever happened to you? I can testify to this and say that numerous times I find myself singing a song and I have no idea why. In fact, why do we still remember childhood songs such as “the wheels on the bus go round and round” or start singing a song we once loved in the 8th grade? The idea that song melodies seem to stick in our memory for long periods of time is an interesting concept.

Weiss et al., 2012, investigated the impact that melodies have on our memory. In their study, a group of participants listened to melodies, either vocal or instrumental, and were later asked to recall what they had heard. The participants listened to melodies from four categories: voice, piano, banjo, or marimba. In addition, the participants had to rate whether they felt happy, sad, or neutral while listening to the melody. They completed a recognition task in which they heard the same 16 melodies and then a set of 16 new melodies. They were asked to rate which ones were old or new. The results of their study concluded that the melodies that had been presented vocally to the participants were better remembered than those that were presented instrumentally, even if the participant liked an instrument more than a vocal melody. There was no difference of recognition or liking among the instrumental timbres.

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Categories: Language, Memory Tags: