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VirSchool: the effect of music on memory for facts learned in a virtual environment

thesis
posted on 28.03.2022, 10:13 authored by Eric Fassbender
Video games are becoming increasingly popular and their level of sophistication comes close to that of professional movie productions. Educational institutions and corporations are beginning to use video games for teaching purposes, however, not much is known about the use and effectiveness of video games for such purposes. One even less explored factor in video games is the music that is played throughout the course of the games. Little is known about the role that this music plays in cognitive processes and what effect background music has on players' memory. It is this question that the present thesis explores by asking which effect background music has on participants' memory for facts that are learned from a virtual environment. -- To answer the research question, a computer-animated history lesson, called VirSchool, was created which used the history of the Macquarie Lighthouse in Sydney as a basis for two experiments. Different musical stimuli accompanied the audio-visual presentation of the history topic. These stimuli were tested for their effectiveness to support participants' memory. The VirSchool history lesson was first presented in a Reality Center (a highly immersive, semi-cylindrical 3 projector display system) and one soundtrack was identified which showed a statistically significant improvement in the number of facts that participants remembered correctly from the VirSchool history lesson. Furthermore, Experiment 1 investigated how variations of tempo and pitch of the musical stimuli affected memory performance. It was found that slow tempo and low pitch were beneficial for remembrance of facts from the VirSchool history lesson. -- The beneficial soundtrack that was identified in Experiment 1 was reduced in tempo and lowered in pitch and was subsequently used as the sole musical stimulus in Experiment 2. Furthermore, because of equipment failure, Experiment 2 offered the opportunity to compare memory performance of participants in the Reality Center and a 3-monitor display system, which was used as a replacement for the defect Reality Center. Results showed that, against expectation, the memory for facts from the VirSchool history lesson was significantly better in the less immersive 3-monitor display system. Moreover, manipulated background music played in the second five and a half minutes of the VirSchool history lesson in the Reality Center resulted in a statistically significant improvement of participants' remembrance of facts from the second five and a half minutes of the VirSchool history lesson. The opposite effect was observed in the 3-monitor display system where participants remembered less information from the second five and a half minutes of the VirSchool history lesson if music was played in the second five and a half minutes of the VirSchool history lesson. -- The results from the present study reveal that in some circumstances music has a significant influence on memory in a virtual environment and in others it does not. These findings contribute towards and encourage further investigation of our understanding of the role that music plays in virtual learning environments so that they may be utilised to advance learning of future generations of students.

History

Alternative Title

Effect of music on memory for facts learned in a virtual environment

Table of Contents

Introduction -- Literature review -- Method -- Experiments -- Conclusion.

Notes

Bibliography: p. [265]-280

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD

Degree

Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science, Dept. of Computing

Department, Centre or School

Department of Computing

Year of Award

2009

Principal Supervisor

Deborah Richards

Additional Supervisor 1

Ayse Bilgin

Additional Supervisor 2

William Forde Thompson

Rights

Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au Copyright Eric Fassbender 2009.

Language

English

Extent

280 p. ill. (some col.)

Former Identifiers

mq:7744 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/76852 1371751