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The effects of prior exposure to music on a subsequent memory task Yokota, Hiroko


This study investigated the effects of prior exposure to music on subsequent brain hemispheric arousal levels. Forty Japanese subjects performed a one—digit—number memorizing task using a dichotic listening method. The task consisted of: (1) a free report condition --- in which the subjects reported as many numbers as they remembered with both ears, and (2) a directed report condition --- in which they were to attend to an assigned ear in memorizing numbers. Then the subjects were randomly assigned to listen to either music played by western musical instruments or to the same music but played with Japanese musical instruments. This procedure was conducted to activate either the right hemisphere or the left hemisphere of the brain. After the exposure to the assigned music, the subjects worked on the same one—digit—number memorizing task. A 2x2x2 ANOVA revealed that in both the free report and the directed report conditions, there was a main effect for test (pretest, posttest), and for ear (left ear, right ear). However, there was no main effect for the kind of music. The results indicate that prior activation of either the left or the right hemisphere through music listening further induces cerebral arousal levels. The finding implies a potential use of music listening in educational and therapeutic situations.

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