The Influence of Music and Working Memory Load on Decision Making
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2013
Previous research has shown a positive correlation between working memory and performance on a measure of risky decision making, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). However, to date, no one has manipulated the presence of music and increased working memory load during this task. The present study sought to see how these factors influence decision making. In Part One, 90 undergraduate students (44 females, mean age 19.29) were randomly assigned to complete several computerized decision making tasks with classical, rock, or no music playing passively in the background. Results indicated a trend towards those listening to music, regardless of the type of music, were less risky on one of the tasks than those in the non-music condition. In Part Two, 90 undergraduate students (54 females, mean age 18.57) were randomly assigned to one of three working memory load conditions while simultaneously completing the same series of decision making tasks: a) counting a particular word in rock songs; b) counting tempo changes in classical songs; or c) completing working memory tasks. Results indicated that individuals listening to rock music were riskier on only one of the decision making tasks. Implications for this study include the need to reduce distractions and multi-tasking while making difficult decisions in everyday life.
2013 OSU Newark Undergraduate Research Forum Winner, Second Place
Academic Major: Psychology
OSU Newark Student Research Grant