Is Music Bad For Brains?

It has often been suggested that listening to music while studying distracts from the learning process, while others argue that it makes the learning environment more comfortable – and in fact, research shows that music can actually increase cognitive functioning in certain cases. A recent study from Applied Cognitive Psychology aimed to find out whether listening to liked music had a greater effect than listening to disliked music…

Sounds Smart

I previously mentioned a TED talk by Julian Treasure on how ambient sound can affect people, with particular reference to the acoustic environments of workplaces and commercial environments.

This study from ACP indicates that a loud, dynamic musical environment has negative effects on memory and arithmetic performance (which one would probably have guessed), but that whether the music was liked or disliked by the participants was not a significant factor. I would hope that each participant got to choose their own music for each category, but the process was described thus:

The researchers explored the ‘irrelevant sound effect’ by requiring participants to perform serial recall (recall a list of 8 consonants in presentation order) in the presence of five sound environments: quiet, liked music (e.g., Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Stranglers, and Arcade Fire), disliked music (the track “Thrashers” by Death Angel), changing-state (a sequence of random digits such as “4, 7, 1, 6”) and steady-state (“3, 3, 3”). Recall ability was approximately the same, and poorest, for the music and changing-state conditions. The most accurate recall occurred when participants performed the task in the quieter, steady-state environments. Thus listening to music, regardless of whether people liked or disliked it, impaired their concurrent performance.


Home | Canabrism | Guides | All Music Technology Posts | XML Sitemap