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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: T or F Some People Remember Things Better When They Are Set To Music

Thought for the Day: Those of you following my blog know that music is important to me and I believe it can play a therapeutic role in our lives. This has led me to create Saturday's Songs for the Soul (5 of the Top 10 Songs 4 the Soul 2013 & Top 4 Songs for the Soul 2013) Today's Psychology trivia question is related to music and another important cognitive skill, memory.

Here's the Question:
True or False: Some people remember things better when they are set to music.

What do you think? Surely, we remember words to songs when we remember the melody. The rhyme schemes help us remember the words as well. Would simply putting unrhymed words to music help some people remember things better? The answer is True. Researchers have found that people suffering from aphasia, "a disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Aphasia causes problems with any or all of the following: speaking, listening, reading, and writing," can remember and speak words that are set to  music.

A study of a therapeutic techniqueMelodic Intonation Therapy (MIT; ), found that music seems to help subjects with Broca's aphasia. The method was developed in response to the observation that severely aphasic patients can often produce well articulated, linguistically accurate words while singing, but not during speech. 

This may also explain the success of the speech therapy depicted in the Oscar winning movie, "The King's Speech," which helped King George V, portrayed by actor, Colin Firth, overcome a severe stuttering problem.

It has also been found that "the best way to remember facts might be to set them to music." Medical students use rhymes and melodies to help them remember facts necessary for medical training. A British doctor, Tapas Mukherjee used YouTube to help improve awareness and memory of guidelines for the treatment of asthma. Dr. Mukherjee was concerned that 55 percent of nurses and doctors at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester where he works,failed to follow hospital guidelines on the management of asthma and 38 percent were not even aware of the guidelines.
"Using his cell phone, Mukherjee recorded a video of himself singing immortal lines like “Aim for 94 percent to 98 percent sats now” (that’s a reference to the asthma patient’s blood oxygen level). He posted the video to YouTube and it went viral among hospital staff. Two months after he released the video, Glenside conducted another survey, finding that 100 percent of doctors and nurses were now aware of the asthma treatment guidelines, and that compliance with the guidelines had increased markedly." (From How Music Can Improve MemoryAnnie Murphy PaulSeptember 22, 2013)

Last year, I posted a video of a Tufts University professor in the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Jonathan Garlick, who is known by his students as Professor Rap who teaches a popular course on stem cells using rap music. 

This bit of "trivia" can be a lesson for parents and teachers. It can help them find creative ways to help their children remember and enjoy their lessons by using music and rhymes.

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