Example Of Memory And Music Research Proposal

Type of paper: Research Proposal

Topic: Music, Sports, Athletes, Exercise, Performance, Study, Education, Psychology

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/02/06

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Music and song enable people to recall certain moments from their past that they directly and immediately correlate with the song. It is uncanny how certain songs evoke certain memories in a litany of ways that ultimately demonstrates how music easily becomes ensconced in human memory. Indeed, music acts as a stimulant for parts of the human brain, as a litany of studies have exhibited that music amplifies the memory of those who suffer from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. A study recently conducted at the University of California, Irvine revealed that the memory of Alzheimer’s patients improved after they listened to classical music. Music indeed has been found by a litany of studies to stimulate parts of the human brain and attest to the use of classical music to enhance a child’s ability to retain information and amplify their learning receptivity. Musical sounds, according to Christopher Brewer, the progenitor of LifeSounds Educational Services, Music thus enhances memory by influencing the listener to “hold our attention, evoke emotions, and stimulate visual images” (Brewer, 2015). As such, music can be use as a mechanism that cultivates positive moods that are useful for various activities. It is unequivocal that music stimulates certain memories within certain realms that underscore and render music of different forms ergogenic aids, which are practices, devices, and/or substances that enhance the production, deployment, and/or recovery of a person's energy in a variety of fashions (Karageorghis et al., 1996, p. 1347). Music, memory, and physical performance must be analyzed in order to ascertain how music and muscle memory can enhance or detract from an individual’s physical performance operating on the premise of an individual’s muscle memory as directly related to muscle stimulation.


Many studies have already been performed regarding the use of music during exercise and athletic competitions as a motivational tool and memory-programmed entity that enhances performance. Aerobic and anaerobic training usually wrests changes that are particular to the type of training, which results in vastly different physiological responses to both kinds of exercise. Thus, an examination of the effects of music and music type as a motivational tool in anaerobic versus aerobic performance as well as how athletic performance is enhanced through music is necessary to fully investigate this issue. Extant literature exhibits quite mixed results because they have hitherto failed to control the environment. In addition, using self-selected music rather than music that has already been pre-selected by researchers, or testing music that has already been categorized by others as motivational has also yielded mixed results. A more nuanced yet controlled study would provide valuable insight into resistance, endurance, or a combination training regiment that has specifically tailored fitness adaptations. While music seemingly has the greatest effect on those who engage in cardiovascular exercise, such disparities in the results must be taken with a grain of salt because the majority of the literature elides analysis on anaerobic exercise and resistance training. Despite the mixed results, it is nonetheless unequivocal that motivational music yields positive benefits. A literature review as well as critical analysis regarding future research must be taken into consideration in order to and are presented in the following findings.
"Music is a great way to regulate mood both before and during physical activity. A lot of athletes use music as if it's a legal drug. The can use it as a stimulant or as a sedative, Generally speaking, loud upbeat music has a stimulating effect and slow music reduces arousal" declared sports psychologist and specialist Costas Karageorghis, who poignantly sums up both the positive and negative ramifications of music on the human body and human memory in one trite, lib, and reductive assertion (Karageorghis, as cited by Lloyd, 2008). Music is often played at major sporting events as well as in recreational gyms and other exercise facilities. In some sports such as track-and-field, playing music while the races take place has been strictly banned despite the fact that athletes have time and again attested to their increased motivation at the sound of up-tempo music playing in the background Lloyd, 2008). Music played during other sporting events, however, represents the tenor of the environment at the macro level to enhance the excitement while also expressing the individuality of the participant at the micro level in order to motivate him or her (Copeland & Franks, 1991, p. 100). The inspirational and motivational dimensions of music accompaniment to sporting events and exercise no doubt provides critical benefits to the experience of the athletic event itself (Karageorghis & Terry, 1997, p. 54). The profound influence that music has on society at large imbues it with social and cultural currency both within and external to the arena of physical activity. The advent of more technologically advanced portable music devices such as the IPod and Zunes has widened people's access to music in a convenient and accessible manner. Fitness professionals have increasingly considered the use of music in exercise as commensurate with ergogenic aids, which are practices, devices, or substances that amplify the production, use, and/or recovery of a person's energy in a variety of fashions (Karageorghis et al., 1996, p. 1347). Selecting music that is not considered appropriate or the absence of music can automatically suggest that one's athletic performance will suffer. From a phenomenological perspective, studies indicate that music indeed increases arousal, improves the mood of athletes, cultivates team cohesion and team chemistry, and curtails overall feelings of fatigue, which all contribute to enhanced athletic performance (Sorenson et al., 2010). Despite the fact that researchers studying the effects of music on athletic performance have come across conflicting results, the data nonetheless suggest that music does have ergogenic benefits. Athletes who use upbeat, motivational and enjoyable music when training will be more inspired, and have a higher chance of excelling at a given physical task compared to performing the same task without music. More research is needed in order to fully study the nexus between music, memory, and improved athletic performance.
Science has time and again reified human intuition, experiences, and salient beliefs that science reduces stress, minimizes pain, enhances human cognition, and boosts the overall quality of life people experience. Health professionals have begun to play therapeutic music for their patients, especially those who are terminally in or resigned to clinical settings where the healing process can be amplified. Indeed, some healthcare professionals have even become music-for-healing practitioners, as subset that requires physicians to earn a certification for playing healing music that positively impact the patient by rhythmically, melodically, and tonally putting a patient in a state of peace. Studies conducted during the 1990s and concluded that music profoundly lowered the heart rates while regulating the respiration and heart rates of patients who had just had surgery. A more recent study conducted in 2007 in Germany concluded that music therapy enhanced the motor skills of patients who had just experienced a stroke. Overall, music enhances one's quality of life. Within the context of working out, music reduces one's perception by ten percent regarding how hard he or she is actually working out during low-to-moderate intensity levels. Unfortunately, studies show that amidst high-intensity activity, music does not have the same overall affects because the brain forces an individual to be cognizant of the physiological stress signals. Nonetheless, music affects one's mood and can cultivate vigor, happiness, and excitement while minimizing confusion, depression, anger, tension, and fatigue. Athletic competitions often cultivate intense anxiety and emotions in the athletes participating in them. In order to control these emotions and facilitate an athlete's ability to overcome fatigue, athletes often turn to music, which they have grafted into their pre-race or pre-game rituals as a critical component in their preparation. Edwin Moses, a world-class hurdler who competed under the American flag during the 1970s and 1980s, always listened to mellow black soul music as a component of his routine prior to the race (Lloyd, 2008).
Extant research has also demonstrated that the tempo of music directly affects human movement. Certain types of music subconsciously causes people to synchronize their movements from time to time (Karageorghis & Terry, 1997). Thus, if athletes listen to a faster-paced song with an up tempo, they also may increase the rapidity of their movements, thereby forcing them to move at an elevated pace that in turn can enhance their performance during running or cycling. Indeed, psychologists have counseled their athletes to listen to music prior to competitions in order to prepare them adequately for competition (Karageorghis & Terry, 1997, p. 57). Karageorghis and his colleagues have collected information from sports-music fusion festivals such as the "Run to the Beat" half-marathon in order to test their theories on live subjects within a real-life situation. More than seven thousand runners, Karageorghis asserted, raced under the influence of a powerful performance enhancing and scientifically-derived stimulant known as pop music. The upbeat music that many participants danced and swayed happily to at the event was specifically chosen by renowned psychologist Costas Karageorghis based on his research and consultation in order to create music soundtracks that have the same stimulating effect that illicit substances have on athletes that enable them to excel and succeed (Lloyd, 2008). Indeed, this connect has provoked various researchers to better understand the synergistic effect of music on athletic performance.


Humanistic models frame the study of music and muscle memory in the context of sport and athletics from a phenomenological perspective. They are concerned with understanding the grassroots experiences of athletes within particular social contexts and environment. Researchers deploying this paradigm must broach the subject using a holistic approach because the individual and the world in which he or she inhabits cannot be studied as separate in order to fully examine the entire experience. Such a methodology calls for researchers to procure a vast array of evidence gleaned from empirical observations, discussions, and interviews in order to fully articulate the perspective of the participant at hand (Patton, 2002).
Thus, Sorenson et al. (2010) corrects a gap in the extant sports psychology literature by examining the lived experiences of elite as well as amateur college athletes as they pertain to music in sports. The researchers investigated the experiences of NCAA Division I athletes with music in sport by listening to the language deployed by the athletes as well as attempting to comprehend the experience of music in athletic competition devoid of any presuppositions and/or external judgment. They deployed triangulation by conducting primary interview, engaging in meticulous note-taking, exploring potential biases, and conducting a pilot study, thereby integrating a variety of methods to increase the quality and credibility of the study. The researchers concluded that from the athletes' perspectives, they listened to music to enhance their mood, contribute to team cohesion, regulate their emotional arousals, and to amplify their overall concentration (Sorenson et al. 2014). The lack of phenomenological studies on the role of music in sport elucidates the need for further research from this perspective. While the athletes discussed how team music compilations helped teams in peril cohere, they did not go into detail about their experiences as a result of the emotional component that teammates often bring out of one another. The concept of team music thus should further be studied. A comparative study of the idiosyncrasies of athletes from different universities and from different sports teams also will add nuance to this subject.


The ergogenic benefits of music have time and again been tested in various studies, which require the researchers to take into account the disparate effects of different types of music as well as different intensities, i.e. slow, fast, or no music at all. Atkinson et al. (2004) conducted a study in which sixteen participants were monitored during a ten kilometer running trial on a cycle ergometer. First the researchers analyzed results yielded during a trial in which there was no music control and then compared the results to a ten kilometer trial in which the subjects listened to dance music. The results indicated that the average power, speed, and heart rate were much higher while the subjects exercised while listening to the dance music in comparison to when no music played. Moreover, the time it took to complete the test was far lower in the group that listened to the dance music. Participants also reported that they felt stimulated by the music because of the rhythmic component of the music while cycling (Atkinson et al., 2004, p. 612). While music seemingly did provide subjects with ergogenic gains, other research concludes that music cannot enhance any ergogenic effects that exceed the physiological limitations of the body. Copeland & Franks (1991) have stated that the research did indicate that regarding the human body's maximal work capacity, music indeed had highly circumscribed affects, which is consistent with other research that shows that regardless of the limitations, an individual who listens to music while working out is far more motivated and actually enjoys his or her fitness regimen far more than those who do not listen to music (Copeland & Franks, 1991, p. 102).
Of course, the rhythmic contours of the music do play a significant role in how one reacts to music during exercise. Szabo et al. (1999) appropriated this dimension of this question to take when they studied how fast-rhythm versus slow rhythm classical music affected athletes during cycling exercises intended to progressively render participants voluntarily exhausted. This study aimed to test the general theory concerning how music improves overall athletic performance. In it, the researchers looked at twenty four servants, half of them male and the other half female, while they exercised without listening to music; then fast music; then slow music; fast progressively to slow music; and slow progressively to fast music. The researchers discovered that participants who listened to music that progressively turned rhythmically faster completely a significantly higher workload from a statistical standpoint than those in the other control groups (Szabo et al., 1999, p. 220). Thus, while no causal relationship can be firmly established, the researchers concluded that music might retain the ability to momentarily distract the individual engaged in exercise from the internal cues in the body that are associated with fatigue. Other studies have looked at similar effects caused by the combination of music and video. Individuals who frequent the gym for recreational purposes often use music and video media in order to amplify their exercise experience. The ergogenic effect of the combination of music and video during high-intensity exercise has remained an often ignored subject within this field of sports psychology. While some have discounted the effects of music and video for its distractive elements, researchers have conducted studies that show that changes in attention processing from the physical sensations of pain to music and video as external components have facilitated the improvement of fitness regiments within the context of high intensity exercise programs within the gym atmosphere (Barwood et al., 2009, p. 35).
Studies that enable participants to select their own music during the tests add nuance to the investigations that test the theory of music amplifying performance. Yamashita et al. (2006) analyzed the performances of eight male subjects who underwent thirty minute sub-maximal cycle ergometer test at forty percent of their VO2 max level--or the maximum oxygen consumption rate measured during exercise performed in increments--while another group was tested but at sixty percent of the VO2 rate. Although the researchers did not procure any significant results while testing the group at sixty percent of their VO2 max, they did discover that those in that group who listened to music had a far lower rating of perceived exhaustion according to Borg's Rating of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE) scale measured on a continuum between on and four than those who did not. The theory was further tested by North and Hargreaves (2000) whose research suggests that music choice does play a role in its stimulating effects on athletes. They posit that music choice must provide an ample stimulus in order to optimize and sustain the state of medical and physical arousal induced by music during sporting competitions (North & Hargreaves, 2000, p. 50).


While the majority of studies examine how music affects cardiovascular endurance performance in terms of the athlete's perceived level of exertion during exercise, very few have looked at the effects of music on supra-maximal bouts of exercise, which is also known as anaerobic exercise. Because very few studies have been conducted, nascent epistemologies are often quite conflicting and have not presented a clear picture or causal relationship between music and athletic performance. Langefeld & Pujol (1999) examined the effects of music on athletic performance using the Wingate Anaerobic Test, which is performed on a cycle ergometer in order to assess a person's anaerobic capacity. The researchers conducted two tests, one without music and one with music, and the test with the music played music at a uniform tempo throughout. Results showed that no disparities in fatigue or any other measures were present between the two groups. Karageorghis (1999) conducted a study on twenty five women and twenty five men in which the grip strength of the subjects were tested after they listened to no music, sedative music, and stimulating music. Subjects who listened to stimulating music had significantly higher strength scores than those who did not listen to music or listened to sedative music. Interestingly enough, the strength scores during the sedative music interval were far lower than when the subjects did not listen to any music at all (Karageorghis, 1999, p. 713). Eliakim & Meckel (2006) conducted a more specific study regarding the anaerobic dimension of testing this theory about music and sports performance. They used a Wingate Anaerobic Test after a ten minute warm-up both with and without music playing. They concluded that during the brief warm-up when music was playing, the average heart rate of the athletes was much higher. However, the music could not be isolated as significantly affecting the fatigue index or average anaerobic output (Eliakim & Meckel, 2006, p. 325).
Testing and assessing the impact of certain music amidst muscular endurance exercises has hardly been conducted. Nonetheless, they have produced conflicting and often paradoxical findings and conclusions. Crust (2008) considers how music directly affected athletic performance during the test rather than prior to the testing took place. The author analyzed and assessed twenty-seven subjects who had listened to culturally conditioned motivational music that they selected or listened. Participants were required to listen to either the music they selected or the white noise both before testing took place and during testing, although the music as well as the white noise stopped approximately partway through the testing. Crust (2008) concluded that the exposure to self-selected motivational music in various conditions caused the athlete experiencing longer endurance intervals than those who agreed to just listen to the white noise. Moreover, Crust discovered that those who were directly exposed to music throughout the testing period experienced more protracted endurance intervals than those who merely listened to music prior to testing. Crust also deduced that because the subject was allowed to choose his or her own music rather than being forced to listen to music pre-selected by the researcher, they experienced far more success due to how the conditions within various studies merely mimicked real-world situations (Crust, 2008, p. 985). Unlike Crust, Szemedra (1998) considers how listening to certain types and genres of music disparately and disproportionately affected anaerobic output during high-intensity fitness and exercise regiments. Indeed, Szemedra looks at the differential ramifications of two contrasting types of music before partaking in exercise that involved the supra-maximal cycle on athletes, heart rate, overall performance, the concentration of ammonia and lactate in the blood, and the concentration of catecholamines in the plasma of the human body. Six male subjects engaged in supramaximal exercise for forty five seconds on a cycle ergometer after listening either to face-paced or to sedative music for twenty minutes. The results do not indicate that there was a substantial difference in the average power output, ammonium and lactate levels, or on plasma catecholamine after exercising between the subjects who listened to fast music versus when they listened to sedative music (Szmedra, 1998, p. 32). Music thus cannot be firmly, causally related to enhance athletic performance during anaerobic exercise according to this study.


The effects of music on athletic performance and muscle memory continues to be a fruitful and interdisciplinary topic of scholarly study in the various fields, including sports psychology, exercise psychology, and memory studies. The discernible impact music on people's motivation within particular anaerobic performances has remained significant in an individual’s overall athletic achievement and performance. Indeed, the most popular athletic competitions today are anaerobic in nature. Carious studies have proliferated in recent years regarding memory and sports psychology, yet muscle memory and athleticism continue to be a nebulous and contested debate due to mixed results that unveil an unclear and complicated picture. Aerobic testing in which subjects listened to music overall reveal that their athletic performance indeed improved due to the motivational nature of music and the mental and physical arousal that spawned muscle and cognitive memory, which ultimately yielded positive results. A litany of studies, however, reveal that anaerobic testing still produces inconsistent results. Music plays a significant role in motivating athletes, so it can be used in both a positive as well as in a negative way within athletic contexts. The intensity of the music within anaerobic contexts merely represents one example. Slow, melancholy music has reportedly fomented discouraging ramifications on competitive athletes that often result in subpar athletic performances. The beats and intensity per minute of the music also amplify and/ or curtail the anaerobic performance of an individual in the same way that it does in aerobic athletic competitions. These various hypothetical facets unveil novel avenues for future research to be conducted in order to ascertain an accurate portrayal of the link between music, mental acuity, and muscle memory.


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