The effectiveness of music as a mnemonic device on recognition memory for people with multiple sclerosis

Kimberly Sena Moore, David A. Peterson, Geoffrey O'Shea, Gerald C. McIntosh, Michael H. Thaut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Research shows that people with multiple sclerosis exhibit learning and memory difficulties and that music can be used successfully as a mnemonic device to aid in learning and memory. However, there is currently no research investigating the effectiveness of music mnemonics as a compensatory learning strategy for people with multiple sclerosis. Participants with clinically definitive multiple sclerosis (N = 38) were given a verbal learning and memory test. Results from a recognition memory task were analyzed that compared learning through music (n = 20) versus learning through speech (n = 18). Preliminary baseline neuropsychological data were collected that measured executive functioning skills, learning and memory abilities, sustained attention, and level of disability. An independent samples t test showed no significant difference between groups on baseline neuropsychological functioning or on recognition task measures. Correlation analyses suggest that music mnemonics may facilitate learning for people who are less impaired by the disease. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-329
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of music therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Music


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