Balch, W.R., & Lewis, B.S. (1996). Music-dependent memory: The roles of tempo change and mood mediation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Vol.22(6), pp. 1354-1363.


Music-dependent memory was obtained in previous literature by changing from 1 musical piece to another. Here, the phenomenon was induced by changing only the tempo of the same musical selection. After being presented with a list of words, along with a piece of background music, listeners recalled more words when the selection was played at the same tempo than when it was played at a different tempo. However, no significant reduction in memory was produced by recall contexts with a changed timbre, a different musical selection, or no music (Experiments 1 and 2). Tempo was found to influence the arousal dimension of mood (Experiment 3), and recall was higher in a mood context consistent (as compared with inconsistent) with a given tempo (Experiment 4). The results support the mood-mediation hypothesis of music-dependent memory.

Balch & Lewis 1996