How tone of voice can affect learning and memory 

We have found further research that strengthens our theories about how tone of voice can affect learning and memory.

In their book Evolutionary Psychology, Workman and Reader (2014) suggest that in addition to adrenalin, other hormones are released during emotional states. Testosterone and cortisol, for example, are both related to stressful events in life and to memory formation (Carlson, 2012). Following a fight between two male mammals, for example, the loser will show reduced levels of circulating testosterone and elevated levels of cortisol – the reverse being the case for the victor (Toates, 2011).

Cortisol and other related hormones (the corticosteroids) are believed to strengthen memory formation (McGaugh, 1992; Barsegyan et al., 2010) so an animal which has been defeated, is unlikely to forget who the victor is and make the same mistake again.

Evolutionists explain this effect on memory formation as part of the function of emotions.  Hormones that are secreted might not only prepare us physically for events, but may also ensure that positive and negative encounters are remembered, since they are likely to have had survival and reproductive consequences for our ancestors.

  • Workman, L. and Reader, W. (2014) Evolutionary Psychology (3rd edn). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Carlson, N.R (2012) Physiology of Behaviour (11th edn). Boston: Pearson
  • Toates, F. (2011). Biological Psychology: An Integrative Approach (3rd Edn), Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • McGaugh, J.L. (1992). Neuromodulatory regulation of memory: Role of the amygdaloid complex.  International Journal of Psychology. 27.403

Self-Analysis Voice Test

You will need to be able to use your voice at a professional skills level in order to communicate effectively in the classroom.  Read and consider the following statements.  Mark each statement yes or no according to your view of your voice.

To do...