Poster A86, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Rhythmic enhancement of visual long-term memory
Hunter A. Johndro1, Lauren Jacobs1, Aniruddh D. Patel1, Elizabeth Race1; 1Tufts University
Previous research has demonstrated that background auditory information can enhance perceptual discrimination, particularly discrimination of stimuli presented in alignment with a predictable auditory rhythm (Escoffier, 2010). It has been argued that this rhythmic enhancement of perception reflects the temporal entrainment of attention, with peaks of attention at the times of musical beats. Indeed, is known that internal neural oscillations synchronize to the beat of external auditory rhythms (rhythmic entrainment). The present study investigated whether rhythmic auditory information can similarly enhance long term memory (LTM). Participants viewed a series of male and female faces in the context of (a) rhythmic, naturalistic music or (b) silence, and made gender discrimination decisions for each face. Critically, in the music condition, faces were either presented on or off of the musical beat. In a subsequent recognition memory test, participants viewed old and new faces, and made confidence decisions about their memory for each face. Memory enhancement was observed for faces presented on the beat at encoding compared to faces presented off the beat or in silence. This rhythmic enhancement of LTM was most pronounced for individuals with low baseline levels of LTM performance as well as individuals with enhanced capacity to discriminate musical beats (as measured by the Beat Alignment Test; Iversen & Patel, 2008). These results indicate that rhythmic, auditory background information can enhance encoding and subsequent long-term memory, and suggest potential therapeutic applications for enhancing LTM in populations with compromised memory function.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic