University of Tasmania
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No influence of background music on face recognition

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:53 authored by Charles, MR
Identifying methods to improve recognition memory for faces is valuable in a number of clinical and non-clinical applied situations. We investigated whether background music can improve face recognition through context reinstatement and the temporal parameters of this potential effect. We predicted that through multisensory processing of visual item information (a face) with rich auditory contextual information (music) a memory ensemble would form, thus creating an effective mnemonic cue. Participants were 19 females and 10 males, ranging in age from 19 to 47 years (Mage = 26 years, SD= 8). Participants were asked to remember faces in a study session with and without background music, then their memory was tested via a recognition test presented with the same music or with no music. Contrary to our predictions, we found no significant reinstatement-recognition benefits: There was no evidence to suggest that reinstating the musical encoding context at the face recognition test improved participants' ability to discern between previously seen and unseen faces. Future research needs to address the challenges specific to context-recognition memory and examine the boundary conditions that might lead to improvements in face recognition.

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Copyright 2018 the author

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