the goal of this study is to assess whether new lyrics are better learned and memorized when presented in a spoken or sung form. In normal young adults, mixed results have been reported, with studies showing a positive, a negative, or a null effect of singing on verbal recall. Several factors can account for this limited aid of music. First, the familiarity of the melody might play a role. Second, successive learning sessions and long-term retention intervals may be necessary. These two factors are considered here in a case study of a participant who suffers from mild Alzheimer's disease. As expected, initial learning of new lyrics showed better performance for the spoken condition over the sung version unless the lyrics are learned on a familiar melody. After repeated learning episodes, learning sung lyrics – even on an unfamiliar melody – led to better retention of words. Thus, music may provide a more robust aid for consolidation in memory than spoken lyrics alone. The therapeutic implications of these results are discussed.
- Received January 15, 2011.
- Accepted August 31, 2011.
- © 2012 by The Regents of the University of California