Document Type




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August 2018


Millions are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease annually which can have debilitating effects on patient memory. Thus, finding new ways to help facilitate memory in these patients, especially through non-pharmaceutical means, has become increasingly important. I examined the use of melody, rhyme, and rhythm as encoding mechanisms to aid in the retrieval of long term semantic information by juxtaposing scholarly articles detailing experiments, each of which examined the effects of various facets of memory facilitation; this helped produce an idea of which devices are most effective. Additionally, I surveyed studies highlighting limitations of song implementation to craft an effective plan to aid Alzheimer’s patients. Melody, rhyme, and rhythm provide an organizational structure to facilitate the encoding of information. Specifically, chunking, the grouping of smaller units into larger ‘chunks’, helps facilitate long term encoding in patients, and is the byproduct of the organizational structure of a text. A major drawback of using these devices is the loss in the depth of encoding semantic information; however, it is important to recognize music still assists general content memory. Therefore, Alzheimer’s patients would benefit from the use of melody as it would provide a moral support, helping familiarity with their surroundings, although they would not benefit from instructional song. Future experiments may study the combination of discussed factors in various settings to examine the unique benefits of music on memory in Alzheimer’s patients.


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