Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gabriel Cook

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© 2016 Jack M Brown III


Have you ever heard a song that hasn’t played in years, and immediately recognize it? What cognitive processes determine this, and why does it seemingly happen to everyone? Using the Expectancy Theory of Music (Meyer, 1965) a working explanation for the possibility of why such strange phenomena exists is proposed. Based on expectancy, words and melody are processed together, and sung words are treated as part of the expected whole. In three experiments, memory was tested using same- different task. Each experiments investigates a different level of memory. Taking into account systematic uncertainty and the violation of expectancy when an unexpected appears, these experiments were able to be analyzed and studied in regards to their effects on memory. College students from the Claremont Colleges are to be randomly selected for this experiment. Findings should show a consistent interaction between melody and vocal sequences throughout each experiment.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.