Music and Memory

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A recent study suggests that music may cloud your memory when youre performing tasks as you get older. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the studys findings in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

If you count yourself as an older adult, silence may be golden when trying to take on tasks. Music may be relaxing and has been used as an effective therapy for dementia patients, but studies suggest that it may cloud your memory when doing tasks as you get older.

A series of faces and names were shown to college-age participants and older adults in which they were to determine whether the person looked like the assigned theme. A few minutes later, the participants had to decide whether the face and name combinations were the same when shown again. Participants did their matching while sometimes listening to music and other times in silence.

The background music made no difference in the younger participants memory recall. However, older adults remembered 10 percent fewer names while listening to music than when they tried to recall the names in silence. For this reason, older adults may want to consider silence as a factor when trying to complete tasks.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.