Although levels of processing (LOP) effects are well-established in memory research, beneficial effects of “deep” orienting tasks have rarely been reported in studies of tune memory. Our prior work implicated mood judgments as one candidate for a beneficial orienting task. The current series explored both the robustness and potential explanations for that enhancement. In four experiments, we varied type of processing tasks (including mood and other putatively deep/conceptual and shallow/ perceptual tasks) and the familiarity of the tunes in a recognition paradigm, which included “remember/know” judgments. Experiment 1, with low-familiarity tunes, revealed a LOP effect for two conceptual (mood, continuation) over two perceptual (contour tracing, note counting) tasks in “remember” scores. This effect was most pronounced for the mood task. In Experiment 2a (high-familiarity tunes) and 2b (low-familiarity tunes), we found superiority of distinctiveness- and categorization-based orienting tasks over the control task of loudness ratings, but again for “remember” scores only; the first two tasks were equivalent. Finally, in Experiment 3, we asked participants to compare pairs of low-familiarity tunes on mood, distinctiveness, or length (control task). The mood task led to better memory than length judgments, and the distinctiveness task was marginally superior to length judgments. All four experiments revealed LOP effects only in “remember” scores. Mood judgment was the most consistently effective orienting task. Results are discussed in relation to models of memory, including how some tasks offer particularly effective “affordances” in some domains.
Auditory Perception and Cognition
Halpern, Andrea; Mungan, Esra; and Peynircioğlu, Zehra F.. "Mood Judgments and Memory for Tunes: A Special Case of Levels of Processing?." (2021) : 97-120.
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