How the mind is easily hooked on musical imagery
Recent studies show that nearly all people living in western societies are affected by involuntary musical imagery, or “earworms”. It has been suggested that prior exposure to music is an important predictor of this phenomenon. In comparison, cognitive psychologists use the concepts of recency (serial position) and the priming effect (brief exposure) to describe similar memory features. The aim of this study was to explore the dynamics of involuntary musical imagery in relation to these memory concepts. Two experiments and a novel experimental manipulation to induce the experience were designed to investigate the topic. The experiments utilized a modified musical image scanning task to cue long-term memory and an experience sampling tool to collect data. The first experiment piloted the induction method and screened the stimuli. The second experiment tested a set of hypotheses using five between-subjects experimental groups. The first experiment demonstrated that among 1111 participants familiar with the songs, the induction procedure evoked involuntary musical imagery in 67.1 % of the cases. The second experiment included older songs and was less effective (49.6 %) in evoking the phenomenon (N=6653). There were considerable differences between the songs, but these were very song-context dependent. A recency effect was also discovered. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009