How Music Genre Affects Memory Retention & Physiological Indicators of Stress
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Understanding which genre of music helps students attain the right amount of stress to perform at their best capability is essential to their success in school. Different genres of music have been suggested to alter physiological indicators of stress and the ability to recall information, yet it is debated as to which genre produces positive effects associated with stress and memory. This study investigated the difference between rap and classical music on the physiological stress response using heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure, as well as the memory retention abilities of each study participant. Respiration rate (RR), heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP) were measured while participants filled out a survey with no music as a baseline, followed by a written exam with rap or classical music playing throughout. A follow-up retention test was conducted two weeks later where the same written exam was administered over the same amount of allotted time, with no music playing. We hypothesized that rap music would increase the physiological indicators of stress, while classical music would decrease the indicators of stress. In addition, we hypothesized that participants who listened to classical music, in comparison to rap music, while performing the first written exam would have better scores and memory retention on the follow-up exam. Our results concluded no significant difference between the two test groups in any physiological variable of stress. In terms of first and second exam performance or improvement scores, there was no statistically significant difference between the rap group compared with the classical group. However, both groups did have significant memory retention improvement scores. These conclusions do not support our hypothesis. Further studies could test if different genres of music have an effect on any of the variables, if studying with music versus without music has an effect, or if getting a more varied range of participants could impact the results.
An article that appeared in JASS, issue 2019