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Effects of Background Music on Phonological Short-Term Memory Essay

In this research article, written by Pierre Salame and Alan Baddeley, a series of tests were conducted to observe if a person’s short term memory was affected by listening to instrumental music versus vocal music. It is noted that immediate memory is verbally disrupted by concurrent- occurring simultaneously- speech. In Pierre’s experiment, he tested subjects to recall a sequence of nine digits that were visually presented. In separate experiments they tested unattended vocal or instrumental music versus silence and found that both instrumental and non-vocal music disrupted short term memory performance. When testing the differences between vocal and instrumental, they found that vocal music was much more disruptive than instrumental music.

Pierre’s experiment could potentially be recreated into an upcoming science fair project. The project would have the same concept of testing a person’s short term memory by a remembering a sequence. But to build on Pierre’s studies, the experiment could be tested upon different age groups. In Pierre’s experiment it was unspecified the age or sex of the subjects that were tested. However, as a potential science fair experiment, someone could see if the results would differ depending on the age of the subject due to different stages of brain development in a person’s growth. Perhaps the sex of the subject could make a difference as well as age. Pierre’s observations could branch off even further into a new experiment to see if the results would vary amongst different age groups.

Works Cited
Salame, Pierre, and Alan Baddeley. “Effects of Background Music on Phonological Short-term Memory.” Taylor and Francis. Informa Plc, 29 May 2007. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <>. Website used:

Key Word(s): Music

Essay Topics:

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