Music-related Memory - Interference

Interference

Interference occurs when information in short-term memory interferes with, or obstructs the retrieval of other information. Some researchers believe that interference in memory for pitch is due to a general limited capacity of the short term memory system, regardless of the type of information that it retains. However Deutsch has shown that memory for pitch is subject to interference based on the presentation of other pitches, and not by the presentation of spoken numbers. Further work has shown that short term memory for the pitch of a tone is subject to highly specific effects produced by other tones, which depend on the pitch relationship between the interfering tones and the tone to be remembered. It appears, therefore, that memory for pitch is the function of a highly organized system that specifically retains pitch information.

Any additional information present at the time of comprehension has the ability to displace the target information from short-term memory. Therefore, there is potential that one's ability to understand and remember will be compromised if one studies with the television or radio on.

While studies have reported inconsistent results with regards to music's effect on memory, it has been demonstrated that music is able to interfere with various memory tasks. It has been demonstrated that new situations require new combinations of cognitive processing. This subsequently results in conscious attention being drawn to novel aspects of situations. Therefore, the loudness of music presentation along with other musical elements can assist in distracting one from normal responses by encouraging attentiveness to the musical information. Attention and recall have been shown to be negatively affected by the presence of a distraction. Wolfe (1983) cautions that educators and therapists should be made aware of the potential for environments with sounds occurring simultaneously from many sources (musical and non-musical), to distract and interfere with student learning.

Read more about this topic:  Music-related Memory

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