This study examined state dependent recall. Recall memory is best
when learning and recall occur in the same state, but can be negatively
affected when distractions occur between learning and recall. It was expected
that those watching an emotional video would have poorer performance than
those watching a neutral video. Also, those who listened to music during
learning and recall were expected to have the best recall. Fifty-nine Mount
Holyoke College students were tested to examine word recall from a paragraph
after viewing a 5-minute video. Participants watching the emotional video
recalled significantly more words than those watching a neutral video.
No other significant results were found. This adds to the literature on
state dependent memory recall.
Godden & Baddeley (1975) found that memory is best when learning
and recalling occur in the same state.
Otani et. al (1997) found that the performance of a memory task should
be negatively affected by a distraction such as an emotional video clip.
Listening to music while learning and not while recalling is considered
a state change
Watching a video can be considered a mood state change or a distraction
Participants listening to music while learning and recalling (no
state change) and watching a neutral video will recall the most words from
Participants watching the emotional video and hearing music only while
learning will have the worst recall score
Participants watching the emotional video and hearing music while learning
and recalling will have a slightly better recall score
Participants watching the neutral video and hearing music only while
learning will also have a slightly better recall score
Participants watching the neutral video and hearing music while learning
and recalling will have the best recall score
59 female students from Mount Holyoke College aged 18-22
Recruited by signs asking for participants
Neutral "Clouds" video clip
Neutral "Cosmos" video clip
Emotional "Return to Me" video clip
Paragraph containing 30 bolded nouns
"Pachelbel Canon" music clip
Questionnaire to assess mood alteration due to clip
All participants watched a neutral video clip "Clouds"
Participants read a paragraph about a football rivalry with 30 words
bolded within it for 2 minutes. "Pachelbel Canon" was playing in the background.
Participants watched either an emotional video ("Return to Me") or a
neutral video ("Cosmos")
Participants were given 2 minutes to recall the bolded words from the
paragraph. Music was played for half of these participants.
They were then asked to complete a questionnaire about their mood and
the clip they watched
An independent groups ANOVA was run to test for significance in number
of words recalled.
F(1,55)=5.78, Mse=7.33, p<0.05
Main effect for type of video watched. Those watching the emotional
clip recalled significantly more words
F(1,55)=0.62, Mse=7.33, p>0.05
No main effect for state change
F(1,55)=1.07, Mse=7.33, p>0.05
No significant interaction
The hypothesis that participants watching a neutral video and having
no state change (listening to music while learning and recalling) would
recall the most words was not supported. Our results could have been affected
by many factors:
This study has implications for education and television advertising.
The recall task may have had a floor effect
The videos may not have been long enough to affect mood
The music may have been played too loudly for participants to focus
on the paragraph