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The effects of musical tempo on time perception and memory

Maliov, Levon (2012) The effects of musical tempo on time perception and memory. University of Buckingham.


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The present study investigated the effects of musical tempo and music presence on duration estimations and content recall of a video advertisement. Thirty male and thirty female participants took part in this study. They were divided into 2 groups and a control group. The first group saw the advertisement with fast-tempo music, the second saw the same advertisement with slow-tempo music. The control group saw the advertisement in silence. According to previous research and theories it was hypothesised that music tempo would have an effect on duration estimations and content recall. It was also hypothesised that the presence of music (in contrast to its absence) would impede content recall. The findings revealed that participants in the high tempo condition gave shorter duration estimates than in other conditions. Participants in the slow tempo condition were found to have worse content recall than in other conditions. However, no significant effect of music presence was found on content recall in all conditions. The findings are discussed in terms of theories and past research and several methodological limitations are considered. Various implications of this study’s findings are also discussed, and suggestions for future research are proposed.

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