Exposure effects on music preference and recognition

Mem Cognit. 1998 Sep;26(5):884-902. doi: 10.3758/bf03201171.


In three experiments, the effects of exposure to melodies on their subsequent liking and recognition were explored. In each experiment, the subjects first listened to a set of familiar and unfamiliar melodies in a study phase. In the subsequent test phase, the melodies were repeated, along with a set of distractors matched in familiarity. Half the subjects were required to rate their liking of each melody, and half had to identify the melodies they had heard earlier in the study phase. Repetition of the studied melodies was found to increase liking of the unfamiliar melodies in the affect task and to be best for detection of familiar melodies in the recognition task (Experiments 1, 2, and 3). These memory effects were found to fade at different time delays between study and test in the affect and recognition tasks, with the latter leading to the most persistent effects (Experiment 2). Both study-to-test changes in melody timbre and manipulation of study tasks had a marked impact on recognition and little influence on liking judgments (Experiment 3). Thus, all manipulated variables were found to dissociate the memory effects in the two tasks. The results are consistent with the view that memory effects in the affect and recognition tasks pertain to the implicit and explicit forms of memory, respectively. Part of the results are, however, at variance with the literature on implicit and explicit memory in the auditory domain. Attribution of these differences to the use of musical material is discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Auditory Perception
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / classification*
  • Music*
  • Time Factors