Studying to music is not in tune with your brain power
Listening to Eminem songs may improve your swimming, but it does absolutely nothing for your creative mind, researchers say
Listening to classical music will not help students to study, researchers have concluded.
Despite the prevailing view that background music can aid creativity, new findings suggest that no kind of tune is helpful when trying to concentrate.
Psychologists at Lancaster University asked volunteers to complete verbal tasks while listening to either instrumental music, songs with foreign lyrics or songs with familiar lyrics.
Participants were shown three words such as “dress”, “dial” and “flower”, and asked to find an associated word, such as “sun”, which can then form three new words such as “sundress”, “sundial” and “sunflower”.
Instrumental music was found to be most disruptive, lowering performance by 10%, music with foreign lyrics decreased test scores by 7%, and songs with familiar lyrics by 4%.
Dr Neil McLatchie of Lancaster University said: “We found strong evidence of impaired performance when playing background music in comparison to quiet background conditions.”
Researchers believe this may be because music disrupts verbal working memory.
However, there was no significant difference in performance of the verbal tasks between the quiet and library noise conditions.
This was because library noise was a “steady state” environment which is not as disruptive.
“To conclude, the findings here challenge the popular view that music enhances creativity, and instead demonstrate that music, regardless of the presence of semantic content (no lyrics, familiar lyrics or unfamiliar lyrics), consistently disrupts creative performance in insight problem solving,” said Dr McLatchie.
Music is known to have a significant effect on the brain, activating emotional and motor areas, and has been shown to improve sporting performance.
A study in 2015 found listening to songs by Eminem could improve swimming performance by 10%.
However, a separate part of the brain is used for creativity and reasoning, and it may become overloaded by too much stimulation, researchers believe.
The research was published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
– © The Daily Telegraph