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Re: ØØ: working memory and melody

But is there any difference in performance according to 'type' of music?
I ask because I listen to 'ambient' music all day whilst on my PC. Ambient music is supposed to be 'background', and certainly, I easily screen it out when necessary. Other music, I find irritating when trying to work. It's not simply a matter of intrinsic detail, since ambient music is often very finely detailed. I'me sure it's a foreground/background thing. By tjhis, I mean that much modern music (I use the term modern rather loosely)  has a predominance of 'foreground' material -i.e. stuff that is supposed to 'snatch' one's attention. It may be contentious, but I think this foreground/background distinction is intrinsic to the material - i.e. extrinsic to the individual perceiver. Whilst there may be wide variation in responses to certain types of music, I maintain that it's too simple to say that this is something that is 'merely subjective'.
In a similar vein, when driving, I'll often mentally tune out of the radio (esp. talk radio - BBC radio 4) whilst negotiating a complex situation such as a crowded road junction. I'll tune back in afterwards to find I've completely missed a chunk. More 'in your face' stations (I rarely listen to them!) I will actually turn the volume down for the duration.
 Likewise with in-car conversation - I may be able to actually talk during a complex manoevre, but not listen. In fact, my family are used to me saying 'hang on a minute' if they're talking and I need to concentrate; admittedly, they accuse me of senility (which could even be partly true!). The difference between being able to talk and listen is interesting - they're clearly not simply the same activity in reciprocal.


>>> "Almanadely, Yousry(Bahrain)" <yousry.almanadely@xxxxxxxxx> 14/06/2006 17:18 >>>


ÙÙ: Robbin Miranda [mailto:raw25@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
ØØØÙØ ØÙØØØØÙ: ØÙØØØØØØ 24/05/2006 06:27 Ù
ØÙÙ: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
ØÙÙÙØÙØ: Re: working memory and melody

Dear Bruno and List, 
I noticed the same thing myself in college: listening to music did not interfere with math homework, but I could not read or write while listening to any type of music.  I believe that this is due to the necessary allocation of some of the same neural structures for both musical and linguistic processing. For instance, BA 44 or Broca's area is thought to be involved in "syntactic" processing of both music and language.

I've listed a few references below.  There are many more relevant papers out there, but these are some of the ones that first came to mind.


Besson M. and Sch?n D. (2001) Comparison between music and language.  Ann N Y 
Acad Sci. 930: 232-258. 

Koelsch S., Gunter T.C., v. Cramon Y., Zysset S., Lohmann G., and Friederici A.D. 
(2002) Bach speaks: A cortical âlanguage-networkâ serves the processing of music.  NeuroImage. 17: 956-966. 

Maess B., Koelsch S., Gunter T.C., and Friederici A.D. (2001) Musical syntax is 
processed in Brocaâs area: an MEG study.  Nature Neuroscience. 4(5): 540-545. 

Patel A.D., Gibson E., Ratner J., Besson M., and Holcomb P.J. (1998) Processing 
syntactic relations in language and music: An event-related potential study.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 10(6): 717-733.

Robbin Miranda 
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience 
Georgetown University 
3900 Reservoir Rd., NW 
Washington DC 20007 
(202) 687-8449 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Bruno Repp <repp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 10:17 am 
Subject: Re: working memory and melody 

> Dear list members: 
> Somewhat related to the current discussion, but leading to a 
> separate 
> question, is an informal observation I have made over a number of 
> years. I am an avid music listener and listen to classical music 
> practically every morning and evening. Classical music requires 
> full 
> attention to be appreciated properly. However, because the 
> listening 
> takes up a lot of time, I have often tried to combine it with 
> other 
> activities. I soon found out that reading, even of the most 
> trivial 
> text, is totally disruptive. I feel I have not heard the music at 
> all 
> while I was reading-a very disheartening experience. Before the 
> advent of personal computers, I used to score data or draw graphs 
> while listening. That was less distracting but still interfered a 
> bit. Lately, I have become addicted to Sudoku. I find that solving 
> Sudoku puzzles does not really interfere with music listening at 
> all, 
> even though I frequently need to keep lists of up to five digits 
> in 
> verbal working memory. 
> I would be interested to learn about any references to research 
> (or 
> any informal comments) that might address why reading interferes 
> so 
> strongly with music listening but Sudoku doesn't. Although there 
> is 
> some research on the effect of music on reading (though probably 
> not 
> on Sudoku), I am not aware of any research that investigated how 
> different secondary tasks interfere with music listening. One 
> problem 
> is surely to find an objective and quantifiable measure of how 
> effective the music listening was. 
> Best, 
> Bruno 
> -- 
> Bruno H. Repp 
> Haskins Laboratories 
> 300 George Street 
> New Haven, CT 06511-6624 
> Tel. (203) 865-6163, ext. 236 
> Fax (203) 865-8963 
> http://www.haskins.yale.edu/staff/repp.html 
> NOTE: I am at Rutgers University, Newark, two days per week, 
> usually Tuesday and Wednesday or Friday, and don't read my 
> Haskins e-mail on those days. To reach me at Rutgers, send 
> e-mail to <repp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>. 

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