Send to

Choose Destination
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2017 Mar;70(3):533-543. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Reexamination of mood-mediation hypothesis of background-music-dependent effects in free recall.

Author information

a Shizuoka College , Shizuoka Prefectural University , Shizuoka , Japan.
b Faculty of Informatics , Shizuoka University , Hamamatsu , Japan.


The present study reexamined the mood-mediation hypothesis for explaining background-music-dependent effects in free recall. Experiments 1 and 2 respectively examined tempo- and tonality-dependent effects in free recall, which had been used as evidence for the mood-mediation hypothesis. In Experiments 1 and 2, undergraduates (nā€‰=ā€‰75 per experiment) incidentally learned a list of 20 unrelated words presented one by one at a rate of 5 s per word and then received a 30-s delayed oral free-recall test. Throughout the study and test sessions, a piece of music was played. At the time of test, one third of the participants received the same piece of music with the same tempo or tonality as at study, one third heard a different piece with the same tempo or tonality, and one third heard a different piece with a different tempo or tonality. Note that the condition of the same piece with a different tempo or tonality was excluded. Furthermore, the number of sampled pieces of background music was increased compared with previous studies. The results showed neither tempo- nor tonality-dependent effects, but only a background-music-dependent effect. Experiment 3 (nā€‰=ā€‰40) compared the effects of background music with a verbal association task and focal music (only listening to musical selections) on the participants' moods. The results showed that both the music tempo and tonality influenced the corresponding mood dimensions (arousal and pleasantness). These results are taken as evidence against the mood-mediation hypothesis. Theoretical implications are discussed.


Context-dependent memory; background music; mood-mediation hypothesis; music tempo; music tonality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center