Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Craig Speelman

Abstract

While prior research inconclusively demonstrates how musical information is stored in long-term memory, a recent study by Hay (2009) found that interference reduced long-term memory for musical pitch. The present study extended this research to musical tempo and examined whether the stability and accuracy of long-term memory for tempo would be reduced as a result of interference from altered familiar songs. The independent variable was the tempo of excerpts from well-known pop songs, which were presented in either the original form or with the tempo increased or decreased by 10%. Participants with no formal musical training listened to a series of song excerpts and determined, using their song memories, whether they believed each excerpt had been altered. The dependent variable was participants' accuracy at identifying tempo changes depending on the previous song's tempo. The results were not predicted, with participants having high and low identification accuracy for unaltered and altered excerpts respectively, regardless of the preceding song's tempo. While no evidence was found for interference, which seems to indicate accurate long-term memory for tempo, the poor identification of altered excerpts suggests a stronger possibility of poor memory accuracy and stability. The degree of tempo change and participants' song familiarity may have been insufficient for interference to occur. Further research controlling for this or using an alternative interference-based design is necessary for a greater understanding of the affect of interference on long-term memory for tempo.

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