Previous research has demonstrated that the accompanying music of a film can influence both the affective impact of a scene as well as its subsequent remembering. The intent here was to investigate whether the affect of music can also contribute to a story's comprehension by guiding the course of selective attending and providing a more elaborative encoding of characters' actions, motivations, and inherent temperament. These ideas were examined by presenting participants with three ambiguous film clips accompanied by positive, negative, and no music. Immediately after viewing each clip, some participants were asked to extrapolate the film's ending, evaluate the personality and motivations of the main character(s), and complete a series of bipolar adjective ratings about the film's actions. In addition, other participants returned a week later for a surprise recognition test that assessed their memory for certain objects within each film. Results revealed that relative to the control group of no music, positive and negative music significantly biased viewers' interpretation and subsequent remembering of a film in a mood-congruent fashion. These findings are discussed in terms of the schematic influences of music upon the cognitive processing of visual scenes.
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