Of Rising Scholars

Fall 2023

Maitreyi will be presenting at The Symposium of Rising Scholars on Saturday, September 23rd! To attend the event and see Maitreyi's presentation,

Go to Polygence Scholars page
Maitreyi Bharath's cover illustration
Polygence Scholar2022
Maitreyi Bharath's profile

Maitreyi Bharath

Leigh High SchoolClass of 2025San Jose, California


Hello! My name is Maitreyi Bharath. I am a high school sophomore. I love music, math, and biology, particularly genetics and neuroscience. My research topic explores how different genres of music affect our brain behavior. I'm excited to be able to research, publish, and continue to explore the biology world and music world in even more depth!


  • "How do different genres of music influence the interaction between reading comprehension and working memory?" with mentor Chiaki (Working project)

Project Portfolio

How do different genres of music influence the interaction between reading comprehension and working memory?

Started Dec. 27, 2022

Abstract or project description

Many people often listen to music while working or sitting in a classroom. Some people believe that music can boost their focus and concentration and improve learning in some capacity. However, the relationship between music and learning abilities, problem-solving, and memory is far from concrete. Many studies have focused on the effects of music on working memory to explore how music affects problem-solving, task performance, and learning. These studies focused on various aspects of the music: rhythm, volume, speed, complexity, and more. One study by Sylwia Holmes and Susan Hallam showed that rhythmic music was the most effective in improving children's spatial-temporal reasoning. Another study selected fast-tempo, low-volume music based on several other studies on the relationship between music and cognition. Another study showed that vexing music, as chosen by subjects, also improved task performance. A paper from the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that the complexity of the task being performed influenced the effects of music on task performance: complex music makes simple tasks easier to perform while making complex tasks more difficult. Some studies that focused on background music showed that when music overloaded the phonological loop of working memory, learning, and task performance was impaired. However, these studies often didn't use the music of a certain genre. The characteristics of music used in studies varied greatly and sometimes were not specified clearly enough to repeat the experiments. This led to the question of how different genres impact learning & reading comprehension and whether this effect depends on working memory. The genres tested in this study include pop, South Indian Classical, Western classical, rock, and jazz/blues. Based on previous studies, it is expected that pop and rock will improve reading comprehension compared to the control group, as songs from these genres have simpler rhythms and harmony. South Indian Classical, Western Classical, and jazz/blues are expected to impair reading comprehension as they are harmonically and rhythmically more complex. Subjects of our experiment will randomly be selected for a certain genre of music. Subjects will read a passage with the song of their selected genre playing in the background. The control will read the passage without any music. All songs selected will be instrumental only and played at the same volume setting. Once subjects have read the passage, they will answer questions to assess their level of reading comprehension. To assess how working memory influences the subjects' reading comprehension, their memory capacities will be tested prior to the study using a digit span test. This study will help us understand the connection between music, working memory, and reading comprehension. By knowing what music improves these brain functions, people can actively improve their work and school lives by listening to genres of music that may augment their learning experiences.