Effects of Errorless Learning and Music on Word Recall in Dementia

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Swanson, Nancy
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
The number of people projected for a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia could reach over 7 million by the year 2030. Since no known cure currently exists, the magnitude of this figure places an emphasis on using a wide variety of interventions to help maintain cognitive functioning even for short-term benefits. The purpose of this pilot project was to determine 1f using a teaching method called Errorless Learning, along with music would produce greater word memory recall when compared to Errorless Learning and no music. Ten participants with dementia were selected from a convenience sample based on study criteria and randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. Participants were asked to learn words from an original song either through the use of music and sung text or through spoken delivery with no music. Correct word recall for both groups was scored and analyzed with no significant difference found between the two groups. The researcher reflected on possible reasons for non-significant results, including small sample size, range of Mini-Mental Status Exam scores used, and similarities between sung and spoken text. Recommendations for future studies were also included.