Honors Theses


Susan T. Davis, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Music has been studied extensively in psychology, including research on musically-induced emotion. However, the project reported here looked at new effects of musically-induced emotions on spatial memory. Trochidis and Bigand (2013) established that music and emotions are associated. Music of a major mode, or an Ionian mode, is usually associated with positive emotions. Music of minor modes, such the Locrian or Aoelian modes, are associated with negative emotions. These associations with the specific modes are seen by the lowering of the third and sixth scale tones.

Participants for the present study completed a spatial memory task (called the “Tower of Hanoi”) while listening to music of different valences (found in previous research to create feelings of positive and negative emotions). Participants completed the task both with and without music playing. Following completion of the tasks, participants reported on emotional state using the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). I hypothesized that those who listened to the positivevalanced music while completing the spatial task would perform better (i.e., faster) than those who listened to the negative-valanced music. Results found were not significant when looking at the tower scores and music valence, however data was indicative of supporting my hypothesis. An interaction was found where participants generally reported that mood score on the PANAS decreased, regardless of the induced mood (positive- or negative-valenced) after working on the spatial memory task. This result appears to be related to the inability to complete the task or the length of time needed to complete the task.

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