The cognitive effects of listening to background music on older adults: Processing speed improves with upbeat music, while memory seems to benefit from both upbeat and downbeat music.

Article English OPEN
Sara eBottiroli ; Alessia eRosi ; Riccardo eRusso ; Riccardo eRusso ; Tomaso eVecchi ; Tomaso eVecchi ; Elena eCavallini (2014)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Journal: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (issn: 1663-4365)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00284/full, doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00284
  • Subject: episodic memory | mood | Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry | RC321-571 | Aging | Semantic memory | Arousal | processing speed
    mesheuropmc: humanities | human activities | behavioral disciplines and activities

Background music refers to any music played while the listener is performing another activity. Most studies on this effect have been conducted on young adults, while little attention has been paid to the presence of this effect in older adults. Hence, this study aimed to address this imbalance by assessing the impact of different types of background music on cognitive tasks tapping declarative memory and processing speed in older adults. Overall, background music tended to improve performance over no music and white noise, but not always in the same manner. The theoretical and practical implications of the empirical findings are discussed.
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