THE EFFECTS OF CALM, BACKGROUND MUSIC ON SHORT TERM MEMORY OF STUDENTS.1.0 Background of study The use of music has been on the higher levels for memorizing as music is an important part of human development. Music can consider as an academic which music builds the brain for the higher levels of thinking skills and performance in the exam especially for students. Since music is independent of physical matter, it cannot be contained by one person, or in any kind of boxes. Therefore, more students are listening to music which allows them to relax to complete more questions and get more answers right. No matter how human improves themselves over the years, no matter where we are, rich, poor, young or old will always have music to accompany us until the end of the day. Music had already been spread throughout the history of human, whereas sound becoming part of a larger memory and recollections. Students have been constantly finding for easier ways to memorize for writing textual information for their exam. Many students think that listening to music can help in the short term memory as music is convenience which we can find it on the internet. Today, more than 50 percent of students depend more on memorizing all the books that can be referred to short-term memory which composed both processing and storage components. Whereas, memorizing can help students to develop a base of content knowledge by exploring materials, textbooks and an hour of finding facts. Although, memorizing and reciting are likely a challenge for most of the students as they need to have patience to memorize it. Numerous studies conducted on the effect of the music toward the short term memory of students are published in various scientific journals. A study carried out by (Hyman & Rubin, 1990). Wallace (1994) had found that music can aid a rhythmical informative and recall the information easily. Nevertheless he also, found that music presents the information in a specific way that can be more easily learned and recalled from memory because it provides the listener many other cues in addition to verbal information. Another recent study by (Forgeard, 2008; Hyde, 2009; Schlaug et al., 2005) had reported that music can improve recall and retention of verbal information, boosts reading and English language arts (ELA) skills, and advances math achievement of students. As music students are usually surpassing non-music students in writing, reading, and responding. These findings had shown that music can improve our memory. However, there is little research that linked music to memories. Therefore, it needs more depth studies to confirm these findings. The important of this research can provide students with confidence in their abilities and give them the skills they need to memorize. The impact of this research can help students to reduce stress and enjoying their time memorizing while listening to music. Apart from the studies conducted on the effects of music on student’s memory, there is a growing need to determine whether the music could help students to memorize quickly and becoming part of the larger memory. This is because this type of memories is typically temporary and it will fade quickly. 1.1 Statement of problem Malaysia has experienced a dramatic increasing of data on the number of students suicidal cases due to stress of achieving their academic goals. Nevertheless, students nowadays are becoming heavily dependent on music to the levels of being relied on it. A recent study conducted the King of Reggae, Hon. Robert Nesta Marley O.M revealed that music is like a fire. The usefulness and convenience of the music have made students to be more addicted to it. Moreover, as the level of studies getting higher, the harder the subjects and more memorizing that needed, thus would cause students to suffer from more stress. 1.2 Purpose of study Given the uprising number of students in the country that mostly thinks that by listening to music is the easiest way for brain development. There have an increasing of questions about the music related effects filed by students. Apart from that, there is a big chance that the number of students needed helps in memorizing will also grow directly with the increase of the standard of the knowledge.In response to this possible question, I will set up some research to investigate more on this issue. The purpose of this study was to study the effect of listening to calm, background music while studying will increase memorization skill and to evaluate the connection between music and short-term memory of students. 1.3 Research question1) ‘How does music affects a student’s memory?’2) ‘Why does music affects a student’s memory?’3) ‘Does music impacts the maintenance of written information in short-term memory in students? LITERATURE REVIEW 2.0 IntroductionOver the past decade, people thought that music is a very big influence as it will change or lighten our life. Prior researches have been struggling to find how many aspects of music relation that will affects the memory’s performance. This includes an overview of studies on music toward mental state, music of irreverent speech and its effect on retention rate.2.1 Studies on music toward mental stateMusic has been profound by many researchers that it can influence on mental state such as evoke mood, boost confidence, and relieves stress. A stable mental state is the stage for a fastest and easier for memorize. According to Juslin (622), “the emotional response either a positive or negative which will evoke due to the song even when we are unaware of it through the evaluating conditioning.” Juslin (623) defined that “memory will evoked, when the music is plays, and so the emotions will associated with memory according to the pieces of music.” In fact, music has been used for adolescent development for centuries as music can develop our perception toward mental state of self-identityMyers (374) explained that music as a “state-dependent memory.” Whereas, emotional state whether it was happy, sad, scared or excited can somehow help us to memorize or recall easily. Mental state held by an individuals may be positive or negative, stable or unstable and temporary or perm anent whereas it can somehow acts as a mood-congruent for recollection. Initially, memories can be easily recalled according to the mental state during memorizing, leading the process of vicious cycle. So, someone comes to anticipate these positive and stable mental state in order to focus and recall memories.Sloboda (90) stated that “music is an enhancement of energy as it was able to help listeners to maintain focus on a certain task.” Music is able to enhance a certain emotion, as it is able to reminisce on memorable memories, whereas it is able to reduce stress. Initially, memories can be easily recalled as long as the listeners are trying to enhance their mood by listening to music, which will lead them to stable mental state for memorizing.Generally, mental state toward memories is the closely related to memorization. As, a study had been carried out by Eschrich (49) regarding given emotion as a builder of the memory, as well as it is impossible to access to memory without experiencing the emotion as well. Therefore, mental state plays a very important role in shaping learner’s emotions to attach the specific memory.2.2 Studies on music of irrelevant speechMusic had been found by many researchers that it can lead to irrelevant speech that break down a person’s ability to focus and disrupts attention on a memorization task. According to Salame and Baddeley (1987), “the unattended speech display by music is detrimentally affecting the short-term memory, which the speech disrupt the phonological loop.” Soon, it was further defined by (Banbury, Macken, Tremblay, , 2001), that irrelevant speech was able to disrupt the performance of memorization tasks. In fact, non-speech sound and quiet sound show the same effect whereas there is acoustic variation.A study had been carried out by Broadbent (1958) involving the effect of noise on memorization tasks that required complex mental processing. The main objective of this study is to find factors involved the distraction of attention in the task. Initially, he showed that the noise and silence would have the same effects on memorizing. Therefore, it had shown that music does not help us in memorizing.Tolan and Tehan (2002) had conducted an experiment that involve irrelevant speech effect on cued recall of stimuli. In recording the research data, Tolan and Tehan (2002) had found that irrelevant speech whether it was steady-state or changing-state had the same detrimental effect. Soon, it was further shown by (Ellermeier ,1998) that steady and changing-state speech based sound will become less disturbance when it was masked with noise. Tucker and Bushman (1991), explained that “pop music gave a negative effects on tasks especially for maths and verbal skills, but not in comprehension tasks. Rock music was also found that it contained a speech that had negatives effect on the participant’s performance in a particular tasks. One study had been conducted by LeCompte, Neely, & Wilson (1997) regarding the irrelevant speech effects toward performance of everyday concentration situations. It had found that irrelevant speech effect results in performance on serial recall, free recall, and recognition. Initially, this study found words are way more disruptive than tones and any syllables which words can effect result in performance deficiency on many tasks. The result showed that some of the researches and respondents found music was distracting for their memorization tasks.2.3 Music and its effect on retention rate..A study had found that music can improve concentration, attention and retention on memorizing when listening. According to Kilgour et al. (2000) reported that “by adding any music to students’ study time can increase their retention and enhance memory.” Music presents the information in a way that can learned, recalled and memories easily because music creates a tempo, add rhythm and repetition within the material. Initially, music produces better retention than rememorizing the same information over again.A study had been carried out by Wallace (1994), involving music’s rhythmical information in retention of information. The method used was a ballad emphasized rhythmically syllables while playing a music. The participants are required to listen and recall one of the ballads five times for twenty minutes. The result had shown that music allowed the participants to remember and recall easily.Calvert and Tart (1993) had conducted a study regarding the music as an aid for learning and absorption. The method used for the study was survey form whereas the majority of participating was an undergraduate students. Students were asked whether they were able to recall the tasks while they listen to the song they frequently heard in the past. The result shown that 83% of the students reported that music allowed them to recall immediately. Therefore, many students believe music is a worthwhile retention to use. Therefore, music is the best, simple, easier way for students and educators to remember and absorb any textual information. 3.0 METHODOLOGY3.1 ParticipantThe participants used for this study was twelve, include uni and college students, ranging in age of 18 to 22. The genders of this participant were not handpicked as it was equally dividends between six females and males. The participants were tested in a quiet room with and without the music.3.2 Instrument identificationsThis experiment will prepare 12 sets of same list of words that randomly selected out from the dictionary. An explanation and consent were given out to each of the participants to sign and agreed toward this experiment. Participants that had music as a part of their experiment were given an earphone to listen to calm, background music. After five minutes of the memorizing, the participants were given a pen to record their answer. The experiment was conducted in a quiet study room where there have less distraction sound. The music used for this experiment was “instrumental attention, from charlie Puth”. The test was only given to the participants where subjects had to sit in front or behind the participants to avoid any cheating.3.3 ProcedureThe participants were placed randomly into one of the two conditions. They were given an explanation and consent about the details of the purpose of this experiment. For agreeing the consent form, participants were automatically place into one of the two conditions and were given a list of words for memorizing. This study consists of experimental groups and a control group. The six participants were in control group while remaining six will be in experimental group. They were given a list of 40 words with the same difficulty for 5 minutes to study and memorize the words that were given. The control group will tested without the music while the experiment group will tested with the music. During the five minutes, control group will study in a silent while the experiment group will listen to the calm background music through smart-phone. The questions paper will be collected back after five minutes. At the end, they were asked to response ranging from ” Strongly disagree” to “Strongly agree” about calm music are able to help them to memorize easily. 4.0 RESULTIn the experiment, participants of six males and six females had been tested in one of the two conditions. The experiment was to determine the number of words memorized within five minutes in two different conditions, and the level of agreement regarding the connection between music and memories. Responses were recorded and placed into table format and graph for a clearer picture.Figure 1 Figure 1 reported that music had connection with memories that had found from the participants. The total of 98 words is counted between males and females with music, whereas 85 words for without the music. Based on the total of 98 words, it appears music is able to help in building a stable mental state for short term memory. This showed that classical music is the best way for student to relax when memorize. Further information and clearer picture are shown above in the form of bar graph. Whereas, the bar with music is longer and higher compare to the bar without the music. Figure 2aAgreement that music are able to improve memoriesMalesFemalesAgreeStrongly agreeAgreeStrongly agreeStrongly agreeStrongly agreeStrongly agreeAgreeAgreeStrongly agreeStrongly agreeStrongly agree Figure 2b “Music is able to improve memories “are the most questionable that filed by the students. Out of twelve participants, four agreed and eight strongly agreed. The result can be seen above in table form (figure2a). This showed that none of the participants disagreed with the question as they know music is able to give them energy for memorizing. Further information and clearer picture are shown above in the form of pie chart (figure 2b). While, 33% of participants agreed and 67% strongly agreed with the statement. The purpose of this question was to gather the response and experiencing data from the participants, about how instrument music affects them personally. 5.0 DISCUSSIONThe hypothesis for this study indicated that the situation with music during study will have the better performance. This showed that the participants with music during study will score higher result compared to non-music situation. This proved that the participant’s concentration in experiment group with music during memorizing were highly supported by a music. The hypothesis was based on previous research by Calvert and Tart (1993) who stated that music is an act of learning and recalling information. It was also based on research by Wallace (1994), who stated the actual melody of the music assist participants in learning and retrieving of the words more than the rhythm of the music. This proved that music were able to push and pull the participants concentration levels on memorizing as describe in Mozart effect that claim music is able to retrieve information from memory. (Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky, 1993). Based on the previous research, Kilgour et al. (2000) had found the results that proved music creates a tempo, rhythm and repetition in a way that can improve retention and absorption ability. Whereas, his results were highly consistent with our findings and was reported that music is a worthwhile retention to use for recalling verbal information. It showed that background music such as instrumental music has a greater effect on a concentration during memorizing compared to non-music. Perhaps, it was because the instrument background music that the participants heard became a form of relaxation toward a stable mental state which help in memorizing. According to the researcher’s opinions, about the effect of music toward mood, the author stated that music is able to lead participants to a stable mental state (Sloboda, 90). One of the opinion was that music can evoke perception of mental state which able to boost concentration, mood and confidence in memorizing (Juslin, 622). It had found that, a stable mental state was a fastest and easier stage to use when doing cognitive tasks. Whereas, our hypothesis were somehow related and supported by their opinions, about music is able to boost concentration levels. In contrast with this study, groups with music strategy performed better than those silence strategy during memorization tasks. In line with Myers (374), whom stated that music is a mood-congruent for memorization. The findings of results gathering process, survey form by Myers (374) was quite strong as it required descriptive and experimental research. One of the example of descriptive research was the researcher had created a questionnaire that require participants to describe their opinions to the questions. Therefore, the answer that the participants gave are most likely accurate and free from human error as they will think twice before answering it.
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