Enhanced Memory for Vocals Melodies


To begin with, music is said to have a stimulus like an effect on the human brain, this study emphasizes on human adults’ memory, and also determines whether certain melodies are better remembered if they contained vocals or instruments only. This is the first experiment carried out to test the effect of different melodies on the memory of adults’. The experiment was done on 32 participants, with 16 different timbres, some consisted of voice, piano, marimba or banjo. In the first testation phase participants were made to hear 16 melodies, 4 per each timbre, each melody was played three times in randomized order (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012).

Participants were asked to reflect on the melodies using emotions, and they were asked to say if the melodies made them feel happy, sad, etc. After a 5 to 10-minute break, participants entered the second phase, where they heard the previous 16 melodies mixed with 16 new foils. They were asked to state which melody they could relate to the previous testation phase.

The third phase was carried out to judge the participant’s liking towards all 32 melodies played in random order (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012). The last and final phase started off with playing one melody from each timbre, and the participants were asked to write the name of the instrument they could hear playing, further rating the familiarity of each instrument on a scale of 1 (unfamiliar) to 5 (familiar).


The results clearly pointed out that, vocal melodies have a long-lasting effect when compared to instrumental melodies, whereas piano made second to the list in terms or remembrance.

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The melodies proved to bring about a very deepening effect biologically and also proved to enhance pleasure, which further resulted in the better processing of music in the elderly. Prior studies narrate that increased exposure of music increases the liking for the music too, to some extent, increased exposure for vocal melodies did not return in favorable liking. Instead, it appeared displeasing to the audiences (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012). The research also proved that increased listening of melodies to music practitioners aids the auditory cortex and somatosensory cortex to grow in the humans.

The relevance of the Findings

Music has a huge impact on the human body and brain development, and it is said to manipulate emotions and feeling in the way it intends to. Facing the utmost reality, a gloomy melody will leave the listener feeling a loss in energy levels and charged with negative emotions, whereas a happy melody will employ the listener’s body charged with positive energy further directing the emotions to a pleased mood. Opera music is a very explicit example of how deep the impact of vocals on human emotions is, as it generally leaves a 70 percent of the crowd in tears and pain by the time it finishes (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012). The human brain also relates certain memories with the background music playing at the time of occurrence of the event. Needless to say, certain timbres trigger the brain to recall the events occurred at the time of its first hearing. Therefore, it is inevitable to deny the connection between human psychology and music.

Over the recent years, it has been observed students tend to learn vocals of the songs faster than they can memorize their textbooks. Furthermore, the vocals are said to manipulate thinking patterns at the back of one’s subconscious brain. On the contrary, instrumental tones have always been considered as background noise and do not require attention (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012). So, with the passing time, the human brain has developed the point of view that instrumental melodies are only to be heard and not paid much attention to, while not defying the psychological impact certain instruments and symphonies have on human brain development and emotional catering.

Recent psychological studies conclude the use of music to treat mental conditions like depression, anxiety and much more. Highlighting limitations of the concerned research, it only experiments which melodies last longer in the brain’s memory, defining it as a very tedious part of the whole impact. Advanced studies need to be carried out to identify which melodies heard under certain given circumstances, trigger exactly which type of memories and, further observing the human behavior during the research. The connection of music and psychology of the human brain is a very vast area of study; it has its own aspects of learning, but to sum it up, it is advised that this subject is studied in detail experimenting in various dimensions, so it can be used as an effective tool to deal and treat the human brain (Weiss, Trehub & Schellenberg, 2012).

Another criticism that needs to be made is that the above-mentioned experiment was carried out on the adults only, the effect of melodies on human brain cannot be tested with adults’ memory gauge only, the study needs to be performed again using participants from all age groups to streamline its effects. It is safe to assume that another age group might respond completely different to the readings made previously. In a nutshell, this experiment is just a minor part of the whole research; there are many more dimensions that need to be taken under considerationWeiss, M. W., Trehub, S. E., & Schellenberg, E. G. (2012).

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Enhanced Memory for Vocals Melodies. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/enhanced-memory-for-vocals-melodies/

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