How Music Affects Short Term Memory By Jack mansfield and paul sperry


Located in the prefrontal lobe, short term memory is the process by which our brain can remember information for a short time. During this experiment I plan to test the effect music has an short term memory with my partner Jack. Studies have shown that different types of music such as rock, pop and classical can alter the effectiveness of short term memory for some people. We plan to test this hypothesis by a memory game and compare the scores of people before and after they listen to music.

When my Latin teacher Mr. Howelldel told our class that he always listens to classical music when he studies we thought he was crazy but after reading numerous articles people have proved that it does help. Most parents confuse this with their son/daughter blasting pop music because that will just build up their adrenaline where classical music calms you and therefore helps you to study. Listening to music activates the prefrontal, temporal, and precuneus regions of your brain which affect your spatial reasoning and helps you to learn more information. We plan on using classical music as well as rock and pop and base the difference between these and ultimately see which ones work the best.

This topic focuses mainly on the study of the brain and its function which also deals with biology when we learn on how the body functions. Memory is something that deals with the function of the body a lot and something that is still studied today. Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. The brain and Biology and constantly being associated with each other and studied together which shows that this experiment could affect the study of biology as a whole.


Although some people believe that you need to have an appreciation for the music for it to affect your memory, I believe that classical music will affect a person's short term memory the best regardless of the appreciation or not


Independent variable - different types of music

Dependent variable - best score on memorization test



Rap - Lose Yourself by Eminem, X Gon' Give It to Ya by DMX

Country - Dirt by Florida Georgia Line, Small Town USA by Justin Moore

Classical - Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven, Serenade No. 13 in G Major by Mozart

Heavy Metal - Face Everything and Rise by Papa Roach, Wrecking Ball by Five Finger Death Punch

11 people to perform the test

Headphones to listen to the music

Excel for graphs and data


1. Person goes to,, to take the memory test

2. He/she listens to lose yourself by Eminem before taking the memory test

3. He/she listens to X Gon' Give It to Ya by DMX while taking the memory test

4. He/she records score on the memory test, while he/she was listening to rap music

5. He/she listens to Dirt by Florida Georgia Line before taking the memory test

6. He/she listens to Small Town USA by Justin Moore while taking the memory test

7. He/she records score on the memory test, while he/she was listening to country music

8. He/she listens to Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven before taking the memory test

9. He/she listens to Serenade No. 13 by Mozart while taking the memory test

10. He/she records score on memory test, while he/she was listening to classical music

11. He/she listens to Hallowed be Thy Name by Iron Maiden before taking the memory test

12. He/she listens to Enter Sandman by Metallica while taking the memory test

13. He/she records score on memory test, while he/she was listening to heavy metal music

14. He/she takes the memory test without listening to any type of music

15. He/she records score on memory test, while he/she was no listening to music

16. Put all the scores in a chart

17. Repeat until all subjects have finished

18. Once all subjects have finished average all the scores and put it in a chart


The results from my experiment showed that the highest average score a person score on the test was while they listened to classical music. The worst average score a person scored on the test was while they were listening to rap music. The average scores while listening to country and no music were very similar.


My results showed me that if students want to listen to music while studying for a test that they should be listening to classical music. My results also showed me that if a student wants to listen to music while studying that they shouldn't be listening to rap or heavy metal. If students want to listen to music while studying, but don't want to listen to classical music, the next best type of music to study with is country music.


During this experiment, my hypothesis was correct regarding that music did I handle short term memory. I was correct when I thought that classical music was going to test the best. I was also correct when I believed rap and heavy medal were going to do the worst. The second best song genre was country which was also a quiet song where the louder songs did the worst.

I learned that Classical music does in fact help ones short term memory. I also learned that moms are right to tell their child that listening to music is bad for you when it is heavy rap or rock. While classical music and country music did help, people on average scored better without music than with rap/rock. We believe that the louder the music the less calm you are and the more quiet the music the more calm your brain is to learn.

I really enjoyed this project for many reasons. One reason is that I plan on telling Mr. Hollwedel he was actually right but another reason is that hopefully this test can help students study better and more efficient. This project as a whole taught me lessons on making an outline and testing hypothesis which are all things I would like to have for the future. Another experiment I would like to try is if chewing gum could enhance someone's memory based on different flavors



Works Cited

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