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Manchester scientists launch #HookedOnMusic Reloaded to help memory loss


The Museum of Science and Industry has launched #HookedOnMusic Reloaded, an online interactive music experiment to help Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Following the on-going success of #HookedOnMusic – which identified the nation’s catchiest song of all time as The Spice Girls ‘Wanna Be’ – the online game and scientific experiment which has been played more than 2 million times – returns better than ever and with some cutting-edge new tricks which could significantly boost scientific research into Alzheimer’s disease.

Created for the Museum of Science and Industry Manchester by Dr Ashley Burgoyne and The Reading Room, the #HookedOnMusic experiment features adaptive technology which gets to know the gamer’s musical memory and adapts to serve up songs which they will know.

The aim of this new version is to develop the game into a therapeutic tool that a caregiver would be able to use with an Alzheimer’s patient in a long-term care facility to find the music that will be most beneficial to that particular patient.

In order to get the robust data needed for the scientific research, the Museum of Science and Industry is encouraging as many people as possible to go online and play the game from the 20 August. More than 150,000 people have already played the initial version of the game, which looked at the relationship between music, its format and repetitive elements and how these hooks can remain in your memory. In November 2014, the research revealed the nation’s catchiest ever song as The Spice Girl’s ‘Wanna Be’ with Louis Vega’s Mambo Number 5 coming a close second.

Dr Burgoyne and his team from the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University will be presenting some of the game’s original findings later this year at the 2015 Manchester Science Festival, now in its 9th year and proudly produced by the Museum of Science and Industry, supported by Siemens. This paper aims to find the link between how a repetitive melody with prominent vocals is the route to creating a memorable record.

Dr Marieke Navin, Manchester Science Festival Director said: “This is an exciting time for #HookedOnMusic. The game has already developed a fantastic following with many heading online every month to take part in this citizen science experiment. We’re hoping that this next stage of the game will lead us to some more exciting findings between memory and music which will have a practical benefit.”

Dr Ashley Burgoyne, University of Amsterdam said: “As well as having fun playing the game people are actively contributing to scientific research and providing crucial data for a breakthrough surrounding music and the mind. We hope that everyone will get behind this next stage of the game and support #HookedOnMusic further.”

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Brian Everall

Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com