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Vikash Kara Year 13

Candidate Number: 9379


Centre Number: 15241

Investigating the Effect of


Music on Cognitive
Functioning In the Brain
Abstract:
I am carrying out this investigation as it is an area of continuing debate the extent to which the areas
of music and language processing in the brain might overlap, and whether musical training might
have an influence the argument that music has a significant effect on cognitive ability has been
researched for a long period of time
This project was designed to investigate the effect of types of music on the cognitive function of the
brain via measuring scores on a hazard perception test to see how much this affects driving ability
Results showed that results show there is no significant relationship agreeing with the null hypothesis.

Experimental hypothesis:
There will be a positive effect on participants who listen to music participants whilst taking a hazard
perception test compared to those who do not listen to music.

Null hypothesis:
There will be no difference in scores when taking a hazard perception test whilst listening to music
any recorded changes will be due to chance.

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

Research and Rationale:

The Experiment aims to investigate effect of musical activity on cognitive functioning in the brain.
During normal driving most people listen to music via radios or CDs therefore I wanted to investigate
how the music affect can be applied to driving ability.
Biological research via brain research demonstrates that synapses grow stronger with use and become
weaker if they are not used.
Brain scans taken during musical performances show that virtually the entire cerebral cortex (central
processing area of the brain) is active while musicians are performing. Almost every system of the
brain is at work simultaneously during a music performance, and brain cells are rapidly sending
messages. The "workout" that the brain experiences during a musical performance strengthens the
connections between brain cells, allowing the brain to function more efficiently.5 therefore this
indicated people who drive while listening to music have advanced connections between brain cells
leading to better cognitive processing.
Much research has been carried out into the effect of music ability on cognitive functioning and
varied results have occurred Some studies have shown that music can enhance cognitive abilities Hall
(1952) found that performance on reading comprehension tests was significantly improved when
background music was playing. 58% of the 245 8th and 9th graders taking part in the study showed an
increase in scores on the Nelson Silent Reading Tests 2 however Fogelson found contradictory
evidence when he studied the effects of popular instrumental music to eighth graders that were
classified as bright and non-bright students. The results of her study showed that the control group
with no music outperformed the experimental groups. 3
The results from this investigation has practical applications, if cognitive ability, leading to memory
is enhanced people can make more advanced decisions and have better reaction times, this could lead
to the prevention of car accidents. This is why I have decided to conduct my study.

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

Methodology

Participants:
20 Sixth form students from Manshead Upper School typically aging between 17-19, with equal
gender were used.
The sampling method used for this study was opportunity sampling. Participants were selected on the
basis of availability during the school day. This method was used because it was an economical way
to generate a large sample within the time constraints.
Participants were involved in the study aged 17-19 and were from a wide range of socio-economic
and ethnic backgrounds.
Experimental Design:
Independent Measures
This design was used as it removes practice and order effects it also prevents using different tasks i.e.
in both conditions participants undertook the same hazard perception test.
Apparatus:
The Official DSA Complete Theory Test Kit 2013 Edition (DVD-ROM and DVD) 7
Computer
Mouse
Headphones
YouTube loaded with Mozarts Requiem5
Operationalized Variables:
Independent Variable: Whether or not participants listened to music
Dependant Variable: Hazard perception scores
Risk Assessment:
Participants were protected from harm via using non harmful techniques i.e. watching a hazard
perception tape this can be much less harmful than taking a driving test.
Although participants could be potentially harmed via a traumatic experience whilst on the hazard
perception test, therefore a thorough debrief was undertaken and also participants were offered to
attend an hour long session explaining aims of the study and more about the effect of music on
cognitive ability.
I also considered informed consent via using a scripted brief containing information regarding consent
to the study and also about what the study entails; this brief was read aloud to the participants before
being signed by them.
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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
Another ethical issue considered was right to withdraw; this was explicitly stated in the scripted brief
also I reiterated participants could leave at any time and have their results withdrawn.
Planning:
Firstly a trial experiment to verify that there are no deficiencies in the design of the experiment,
testing for a floor or ceiling effect, checking the operation of equipment and ensuring reliability and
validity throughout the trial
I have used the hazard perception test in The Official DSA Complete Theory Test Kit 2013 7 in
which participants will be shown a series of 14 video clips on a computer screen. The clips featured
everyday road scenes containing at least one developing hazard. I have used this test because it is
unsafe to carry out a physical experiment.
Eight eighteen year old participants of equal gender took part in the trial; these participants were split
into two groups. Group one consisted of participants who were read aloud the scripted brief and were
then set the task.
The second set of participants in Group 2 were given the same brief however were given headphones
to listen to Mozart Requiem during the task. The task took part in the school library around a
computer.
A Mann Whitney U Test would be used to examine the data produced this is because I have used
independent measures design, with ordinal data produced this test will rank the data for each
condition, and then see how different the two rank totals4
The results from the trial are shown below
Participant
1
2
3
4

Group 1

Group 2

Scores
45
42
39
37

Trial 1 Experiment results:


The results indicated that music actually deteriorated participants results in the hazard perception test,
also the result found were actually much lower compared to the pass mark which is 53 however this
could have been due to external noise being heard in the library by other students there are many
extraneous variable that could not be accurately controlled therefore I decided to move the experiment
to another room where there would not be any distractions.
The results from the second trial are shown below
Participant
1
2
3
4

Group 1

Group 2

Trial 2 Experiment results:


In this trial all participants did much better compared to the initial trial carried out in the library, I
believe this due to the noise distraction being withdrawn, also in these results it clearly shows group 2
who were listening to music when carrying out the experiment had higher score, however this could

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Scores
55
57
48
51

Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
just be down to individual differences nevertheless I believe this second trial was adequate to carry on
as the main procedure.

Procedure:

1.) 20 Participants were acquired using opportunistic sampling they were 6 th Form students aged

between 17-19
2.) The Participants were given an informed consent form to fill out and were fully briefed

about the experiment


3.) The participants were then equally split in to two groups, Group 1 and Group 2, the

participants in Group 1 are used as a control group whereas Group 2 will be the experimental
group
4.) The participants were lead into an empty classroom one by one where the mock hazard

perception test7 was already set up on the computer


5.) The participants were then explained how the hazard perception test works via a short video
clip about how it works7
6.) Both Groups would then carry out their hazard perception test, however in the experimental
group the loaded YouTube clip6 would be played via the headphones given to the participants'
7.) Results would be recorded on a table of results ( See Appendix )
8.) Participants were then given a thorough debrief at the end and were informed of their right to
withdraw their results from the experiment
9.) The study will be repeated at a different time of the year with different participants to
eliminate extraneous variables regarding time of year e.g. heat in the summer / lack of interest
10.) The researcher then analysed the results

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

Observation and Recording:

Results JULY 2013

Results

JANUARY 2014

Interpreting and Evaluation:


Statistics:

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
I will use a Mann Whitney U Test to determine the data statistically (Calculations shown in
appendices). I have chosen this test because this study has two different groups of participants which
perform both conditions of the study: it is appropriate for analysing my data which has originated
from an independent-measures design with two conditions4.
Experimental hypothesis:
There will be a positive effect on participants who listen to music participants whilst taking a hazard
perception test compared to those who do not listen to music.
Null hypothesis:
There will be no difference in scores when taking a hazard perception test whilst listening to music
any recorded changes will be due to chance.

Results from July 2013 Statistical Analysis:


The results of the Mann Whitney U test showed there will be no difference in scores when taking a
hazard perception test whilst listening to music. This is because at a 5% probabilities level the critical
value of U1 (37) is lower than the critical value of 50 found in a data book.
However when mean results were recorded (see Appendices) the control group were found to have a
lower mean rank result of 9 compared to the experimental group of 12 providing contradictory
evidence

Results from January 2014 Statistical Analysis:


The results of the Mann Whitney U test showed there will be no difference in scores when taking a
hazard perception test whilst listening to music. This is because at a 5% probabilities level the critical
value of U1 (39) is lower than the critical value of 50 found in a data book.
However when mean results were recorded (see Appendices) the control group were found to have a
lower mean rank result of 9.25 compared to the experimental group of 11.75 providing contradictory
evidence

Data Analysis:
The results found indicate there is more than a 5% probability that the results occurred due to chance,
and less than a 95% chance that the results are significantly different. This agrees with the Null
hypothesis: There will be no difference in scores when taking a hazard perception test whilst listening
to music any recorded changes will be due to chance.

Biological Principles:
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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
The part of the brain that I was most studying in this experiment is the frontal lobe, it is concerned with the
higher brain functions such as decision making, reasoning, planning and consciousness of emotions, It is also
responsible with forming associations (by combining information from the rest of the cortex) and with ideas. It
includes the primary motor cortex which has neurones that connect directly to the spinal cord and brain stem and
from there to the muscles. It sends information to the body via the motor neurones to carry out movements. The
motor cortex also stores information about how to carry out different movements.
I will also look at the temporal lobe as it is concerned with processing auditory information, i.e. hearing, sound,
recognition and speech.

(11)

The reason I have studied these two parts of the brain is because the music played will be directly involved with the
temporal lobe and will be processed, the frontal lobe which is responsible with forming association will link music with
cognitive abilities. If an association is made between music then the frontal lobe should be more active and neurones
should be more sensitive which will send information to the body to carry out efficient movements and hopefully help out
whilst driving, as quick reactions while driving are essential as accidents are always prone and accurate decisions have to
be made when stopping or speeding up, if music can help then this piece of research could pose high practical
applications.

Evaluation:

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

The purpose of my study was to investigate the effect between music and cognitive ability for which
at 5% significance level showed there will be no difference in scores when taking a hazard perception
test whilst listening to music any recorded changes will be due to chance.
There are many limitations to my research, the main problem is that the investigation was carried out
by 16-19 year olds only; this was done as it was the quickest and easiest way. This prevents me from
generalising conclusions regarding cognitive abilities and music as the memory of students is different
compared to adults, this has been proven via much research conducted 10
Further problems with the study could be practice effect I did not take into account that people aged
16-19 would either have revised for a hazard perception test or already passed, this is a serious
extraneous variable and if I was to carry out my study again I would have to choose a different sample
of varied ages.
The study carried out has contradictory evidence to Hall 1952 2 and Fogelson 1 as no significant
difference was found between cognitive ability and music, neither positive nor negative. However
studies by Fogelson and Hall were used with 8th and 9th graders whose brain were not as developed as
young adults used in my study age could be a significant factor when measuring connections between
cognitive skills and music.
The main problem with my study is I could not actually see brain functioning whilst my study was
being carried out for practical purposes, therefore the temporal lobe and frontal lobe may have been
more active when the music was played. The only way to test this would be to carry out a F-MRI scan
whilst taking part in the study, this would show genuine movement in the brain and would allow me to
correctly identify whether the music played had a significant difference.
A further problem Identified is that I only used Mozart as my type of music this is a variant of
classical music and is not listened to by many teens, therefore may not have helped boost the
associations formation via the frontal lobe, if I was to carry out my study again I would have to
choose a large variety of music.

Communicating

A Graph to show the Hazard


Perception scores carried out in
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July 2013

Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

70
60
50

Hazard Perception
Score

40
30

Hazard Perception
Score

20
10
0
1

Group 1

10

This graph although showing higher results in most of the experimental groups has outliers where 4
people in the control group have higher scores than the experimental group therefore generalised
conclusions were not able to make

Group

A Graph to show the Hazard


Perception scores carried out in
January 2014

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
70
60
50

Hazard Perception
Score

40
30

Hazard Perception
Score

20
10
0
1

10

This graph although showing higher results in most of the experimental groups has outliers where 3
people in the control group have higher scores than the experimental group therefore generalised
conclusions were not able to make

Group 1
Group 2
Appendices:

Mann Whitney U Calculations:


I have used this formula when calculating my statistical analysis a simple version is shown below as
well, I have used a formula described from a statistics book 9 to carry out my Maan Whitney U Test
Here is the Formula I have used
1. I added up the ranks for the observations which came from sample 1. Where there were tied
groups, I would take the rank to be equal to the midpoint of the group. The sum of ranks in
sample 2 is now determinate, since the sum of all the ranks equals N(N + 1)/2 where N is the
total number of observations.
2. U is then given by:

Where n1 is the sample size for sample 1, and R1 is the sum of the ranks in sample 1.
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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
The smaller value of U1 and U2 is the one used when consulting significance tables. The sum
of the two values is given by

Knowing that R1 + R2 = N(N + 1)/2 and N = n1 + n2 , and doing some algebra, I found that the
sum is

Mean Calculations:
The mean is the average of the numbers.
To calculate I had to add up all the ranks, then divide by how many numbers there were, which there
was 10 in each group

Statistical Results:

JULY 2013

JANUARY 2014

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241

Manshead Upper School


Dunstable Road
Caddington LU1 4BB
01582 679400
Investigating the Effect of Music on Cognitive Functioning In the Brain
Consent Form
Purpose:
To determine effect on participants who listen to music participants whilst taking
a hazard perception test compared to those who do not listen to music.

Procedure:
If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to do the following:
Carry out a Hazard Perception test while potentially listening to Mozart

Right to Withdraw and Confidentiality.


Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you may refuse to
complete the experiment at any point during the experiment. You understand
that your name is being used only to help take down results, where you will be
given a subject number and your name will no longer represent your results.
During this time no-one will see your results other than yourself, and Vikash
Kara, the conductor of the experiment and know that they are your results,
where upon your own decision you may share them.

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
Contacts and Questions:
At this time you may ask any questions you may have regarding this study. If you have
questions later, you may contact Vikash at 07761490948 or
09karav@mansheadschool.co.uk

Statement of Consent:
I have read the above information and fully understand the conditions. I have asked any
questions I had regarding the experimental procedure and they have been answered to
my satisfaction. I consent to participate in this study.
Name of Participant_________________________________________Date: __________

Signature of Participant ____________________________________________


Age:

Bibliography:

Lucy L. M. Patston and Lynette J. Tippett. The Effect of Background Music on Cognitive Performance
in Musicians and Nonmusicians. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal Vol. 29, No. 2, Music
Training and Nonmusical Abilities (December 2011), pp. 173-183

Hall, J. (1952) The effect of background music on the reading


Comprehension of 278 eighth and ninth grade students.
Journal of Educational Research, 45, 451-458.

Fogelson, S. (1973). Music as a distracter on reading-test performance of eighth grade students.


Perceptual and Motor Skills, 36, 1265-1266.

Graham Hole Research Skills Mann-Whitney test handout version 1.0. Page 1

Source: "The Music in Our Minds" by Norman M. Weinberger.


Published in Educational Leadership, Vol. 56, and No. 3: November 1998.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8vJ_lMxQI last accessed 19 July 2013

The Official DSA Complete Theory Test Kit - 2013 (PC/Mac) which can bought from amazon on
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Official-Complete-Theory-Test/dp/0115532609/ref=sr_1_1?
ie=UTF8&qid=1393247995&sr=8-1&keywords=dsa+theory+test+2014+dvd last accessed 20 July
2013

(2009) Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology for Edexcel A2 Biology Student Book

Roger Fentem (1996) Discovering Advanced Mathematics, Statistics

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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
10 Adelson, R. (2005, September). Mending memory. American Psychological Association
Monitor.
11 http://theconversation.com/explainer-the-brain-11196

Evaluation of Sources:

Source (8) is an A-level Biology textbook, published by Nelson publishers in collaboration with the
University of York. Having been published for A-Level learning, it has been carefully examined and
checked repeatedly by professionals so it is as accurate as possible. Also, the fact that this book is
linked with the University of York, a reputable university that runs degree courses for people, further
enhances its reliability as a source. However, the textbook is designed for 16-19 year olds which may
mean that the information has been simplified to make it easier to understand and this may have
compromised the accuracy, having said this, I have depended on this book mostly for background
information such as the structure of the brain and functions of the different parts.

Most sources used (1, 2, 3, 5 and 10) have been from Scholarly, academic and peer reviewed refereed
journals which have been published by a university press or academic association.
The intended audience is professionals, researchers, or students in the discipline; and the language is
often technical, requiring prior knowledge of the field.
These sources can be classed as valid and reliable as they have undergone a thorough peer review
before being published many researchers have thoroughly scrutinized all work making sure that there
are no errors or results have not been falsified.

Source 9 was a mathematics book focusing on statistics this was produced in 1996 by Roger Fentom
who has a PHD in Mathematics and Statistics therefore he has gone through an established degree and
is an expert in the field of stats and I can trust his method of calculating out my Maan Whitney U test,
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Vikash Kara Year 13


Candidate Number: 9379
Centre Number: 15241
although this book was produced in 1996 there has been no changes in the calculation process I
believe this is a valid and reliable resource.

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