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Abstract

This experiment studied the effect of the musical mode on mood and memory using contemporary music. For the purposes of this study, mode was defined as the type of musical scale, or sequence of notes, utilized in each musical selection. Eighty-four college participants were assigned to one of the three musical conditions: major, minor, or silent. They then completed the first mood measure, followed by a learning task. Afterwards, they completed questions about their musical preferences, a second mood measure, and a word recall task. Although participants did not differ in word recall scores across musical conditions, those in the major mode experienced less positive moods than those in the minor and silent conditions. However, it should be noted that silent scores were slightly insignificant. Participants in the minor condition also experienced more positive moods than those in the silent condition. A post-hoc analysis also found that participants who enjoyed their musical selection had more positive moods than those who did not. Because a majority of the previous literature utilized classical music, the current study contributes to the literature by examining the effect of contemporary music on mood and word recall.

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