Effects of melody and lyrics on mood and memory

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Aug;85(1):31-40. doi: 10.2466/pms.1997.85.1.31.


137 undergraduate Le Moyne College students volunteered in a study on music and its effects on mood and memory. In a 2 x 3 between-subjects design, there were 2 lyric conditions (Happy and Sad Lyrics) and 3 music conditions (No Music, Happy Music, and Sad Music). Participants were asked to listen to instrumental music or mentally to create a melody as they read lyrics to themselves. The study tested cued-recall, self-reported mood state and psychological arousal. Analysis suggested that mood of participants was influenced by the music played, not the lyrics. Results also showed those exposed to No Music had the highest score on the recall test. Personal relevance to the lyrics was not correlated with memory.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Arousal
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Music*
  • Reading*
  • Verbal Behavior