Previous research suggests that memory for music possesses a number of similarities to the more frequently studied modalities of verbal and visual memory. The present study addresses a yet uninvestigated factor involved in the memory for music: mood. Specifically, the study explored whether a mood-congruency effect is attained using major and minor keys as memory stimuli. Sixty undergraduate students were placed in a positive, negative, or neutral (i.e. baseline) mood. They were then presented with four major and four minor melodies, and, following a short delay, underwent a recognition task for the melodies. The results showed the presence of a highly significant mood-congruency effect. In a positive mood, melodies in major keys were better recognized than melodies in minor keys, whereas the reverse effect was seen for negative moods. Results are discussed in terms of how these findings relate to previous work on memory for music and linguistics.
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