Music causes deterioration of source memory: Evidence from normal ageing

El Haj, Mohamad; Omigie, Diana and Clément, Sylvain. 2014. Music causes deterioration of source memory: Evidence from normal ageing. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(12), pp. 2381-2391. ISSN 1747-0218 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Previous research shows that music exposure can impair a wide variety of cognitive and behavioral performance. We investigated whether this is the case for source memory. Forty-one younger adults and thirty-five healthy elderly were required to retain the location in which pictures of colored objects were displayed. On a subsequent recognition test they were required to decide whether the objects were displayed in the same location as before or not. Encoding took place 1) in silence, 2) while listening to street noise, or 3) while listening to Vivaldi’s “Four seasons”. Recognition always took place during silence. A significant reduction in source memory was observed following music exposure, a reduction that was more pronounced for older adults than for younger adults. This pattern was significantly correlated with performance on an executive binding task. The exposure to music appeared to interfere with binding in working memory, worsening source recall.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Binding, Executive function, Music, Source memory

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14 February 2014Accepted
10 July 2014Published Online
1 December 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2018 15:32

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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