Why Does Music Aid in Memorization?

music brainIf grade school has taught us anything, it’s that turning a list of items into a song is a great way to remember things. That same basic process works just as well in adulthood, and The Wall Street Journal explains why.

As you’d probably expect, music helps us memorize items using rhythm and alliteration. The Wall Street Journal explains:

The words to a holiday song bubble up to the surface of the brain, even decades since last hearing the tune. Yet recalling a bank-account password can put the mind in a twist. Neuroscientists have long debated the brain mechanisms related to memory, but they agree on one thing: Information set to music is among the easiest to remember. One expert, Henry L. Roediger III, professor of psychology at the Memory Lab at Washington University in St. Louis, explains how songs easily stick in the mind.

Music is a powerful mnemonic device, but the song’s structure is what allows a person to recall the information it holds—not necessarily the catchy tune itself. The added melody encourages repetition and thus memorization, which is perhaps why patients with advanced Alzheimer’s dementia have been known to sing along to a familiar song.

Here’s a link to the entire article.

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