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October 2021

Melodic Discrimination Skills of Older Adults: Familiar Versus Unfamiliar Melodies

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of familiarity on the melodic discrimination abilities of older adults. Subjects (n=57) were volunteers from a large midwestern retirement community over the age of 65. Eighteen pairs of melodies were presented to the subjects. One-half of the melodies were familiar and one-half were unfamiliar. In addition, the second melody of each pair was either identical to or defferent from the first melody. Subjects were asked to indicate if the second melody was exactly the same as or different from the first melody in the pair. They were also asked to rate how familiar they were with each melody using a four-point Likert scale. A repeated-measures MANOVA indicated a significant (p<.001) main effect for familiarity. The subjects performed better when the music was unfamiliar. There was also a significant (p<.001) interaction effect, which did not allow direct interpretation. The test did not prove reliable for this group.

Note: melodic-discrimination-skills.

Keyword(s): melodic, discrimination, older-adults, familiar, music, melody.


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