Giuseppe G. Miranda



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This research examined the effects of music-induced emotions on memory for information from a story. Previous research has revealed that music is a reliable tool for mood manipulation (Vuoskoski & Eerola, 2012), and emotion has been shown to be a memory enhancer (Janke, 2008). Tesoriero and Rickard (2012) provide two major theories for how music and memory interact, emotional arousal theory and mood congruence theory. The emotional arousal theory predicts that when emotions are aroused there will be an overall enhanced memory for attended information. Further, the mood congruence theory predicts enhanced memory for information that is congruent with reported emotions (Bower & Forgas, 2000). Based on these theories, there should be an improvement in memory for text information for individuals listening to emotionally-arousing music while reading text with corresponding emotional content. Participants in the present study, equipped with a heart rate monitor, listened to classical fear-inducing music while reading a fear-inducing story presented in either moving or static text. Other participants read the story without accompanying music. Both groups were evaluated for their emotional state before, during, and after the story. Following a task to minimize rehearsal of story details, all participants were given a surprise, cued-recall test of information from the story. Data analyses revealed a modest, statistically significant effect of music on recall of story detail. Furthermore, there was a strong, statistically significant effect of the fear story on emotion. Not only was the fear story able to elicit a strong fear response in the participants, but it also increased the participants’ overall basic negative affect and decreased their overall basic positive affect. Analysis is currently underway to determine if fluctuations in heart rate correlate with emotional states of the participants, as determined by the emotional state questionnaires.

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Honors Thesis

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Susan T. Davis

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Arts and Humanities | Business | Education | Engineering | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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