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The perceived impact of playing music while studying: Age and cultural differences

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Abstract

Rating scale questionnaires were administered to 600 students in three age groups, 12–13, 15–16 and 20–21 from Japan, the UK, Greece and the USA. The questionnaires explored the extent of playing music while studying, the kinds of tasks when music was played, the perceived effects of music on studying, the characteristics and types of music played while studying and the factors that influenced the decision to play music while studying. Statistical analysis revealed both commonality and differences in playing music while studying related to both age and culture. Some tasks were more frequently accompanied by music than others. Students reported being able to make decisions about the impact of background music on their performance. The results are discussed in relation to their educational implications.
The perceived impact of playing music while
studying: age and cultural differences
Authors: Anastasia Kotsopoulou
a
; Susan Hallam
b
Affiliations:
a
Psychology Department, City University of Seattle in Athens, Athens,
Greece
b
Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK
DOI: 10.1080/03055690903424774
Article Requests: Order Reprints : Request Permissions
Published in: Educational Studies, Volume 36, Issue 4 October 2010 , pages 431
- 440
Publication Frequency: 5 issues per year
First Published on: 08 January 2010
To cite this Article: Kotsopoulou, Anastasia and Hallam, Susan (2010) 'The
perceived impact of playing music while studying: age and cultural differences',
Educational Studies, 36:4, 431 - 440, First published on: 08 January 2010 (iFirst)
Abstract
Rating scale questionnaires were administered to 600 students in three age groups, 12-
13, 15-16 and 20-21 from Japan, the UK, Greece and the USA. The questionnaires
explored the extent of playing music while studying, the kinds of tasks when music
was played, the perceived effects of music on studying, the characteristics and types
of music played while studying and the factors that influenced the decision to play
music while studying. Statistical analysis revealed both commonality and differences
in playing music while studying related to both age and culture. Some tasks were
more frequently accompanied by music than others. Students reported being able to
make decisions about the impact of background music on their performance. The
results are discussed in relation to their educational implications.
Keywords: background music; homework; age; culture; studying
Introduction
In the modern western world where music is readily available to everyone through
radio, recordings, TV and videos and where recorded background music is routinely
played in many public places, the need to understand the effects of music on cognitive
processing has become increasingly important. While research has been undertaken
on the effects of background music on a variety of cognitive activities, it has been
relatively unsystematic and much of it has been inconclusive. This is in part because
music can be processed in different ways (see Hallam, Cross, and Thaut 2008 for
reviews). While there may be general trends in our responses to stimulating or
relaxing music, these are overlaid by individual cognitions which may mediate the
immediate effects, for instance, associations of particular pieces of music with
particular events or dislike of particular musical genres.
We know that in the adolescent years music becomes increasingly important with
most teenagers listening to music for approximately three hours a day, its role being
perceived in relation to portraying an image to the outside world and satisfying their
emotional needs (North, Hargreaves, and O'Neill 2001). We also know that much
studying undertaken at home is accompanied by music or the TV playing
(Kotsopoulou 1997; Patton, Stinard, and Routh 1983). What is as yet relatively
unexplored is the effect that playing music may have on the task performance of
young people. There is evidence that different types of music can have differential
impact on the physiological responses of premature infants (Lorch et al. 1994) and the
activity levels of young children aged three to four (Reiber 1965). Studies of children
with a range of special educational needs have also shown that the introduction of
background music into the classroom setting has a calming influence and can improve
task performance (Cripe 1986; Gregoire 1984; Hallam and Price 1998; Savan 1998;
Scott 1970).
Other studies have explored the effects of music on children in mainstream schools
with mixed results. Mitchell (1949) compared performance on a comprehension task
of listening to a variety show, a musical show or silence and found that reading
achievement was not adversely affected by the musical programme. Hall (1952) found
that performance on reading comprehension tests was significantly improved when
background music was playing. However, Fogelson (1973) found that the reading of
eighth graders was adversely affected when an instrumental version of Mantovani's
Favourite Show Tunes” was playing. Kiger (1989), studying older pupils aged 15
years who read a 1450-word passage on Japanese history with high- or low-
information load music or no music in the background, found that reading
comprehension scores were significantly higher in the low-information load condition
than in the silent or high-information load conditions.
Other work has focused on tasks which involve recall. Henderson, Crews, and Barlow
(1945) explored the effect of music as a source of distraction during the taking of a
test. Type of music and the complexity of the testing material both affected
performance. Mowsesian and Heyer (1973) studied the effects of music on test taking
in 15-year-olds using a control, and groups listening to rock, folk, symphonic music
and opera. They were tested on mathematics, language and spelling and also
completed a self-concept of ability scale. The music had no significant effect on
performance. In contrast, Hallam, Price, and Katsarou (2002) found that 10-11-year-
olds, performance on memory and mathematics tasks was enhanced by calming music
playing in the background.
Explanations of the effects of music on learning and behaviour have tended to be in
terms of arousal and mood. The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the arousal level of the
individual increases performance up to an optimal level beyond which over-arousal
leads to a deterioration in performance. The law also states that the deterioration
occurs more quickly when the task to be performed is complex or under-learned. A
simple task will require a higher level of arousal for concentration to be maintained.
Stimulating music is expected to increase arousal and improve performance on simple
tasks but if the task is complex the level of arousal may become too great and
performance may deteriorate. Arousal levels may also be linked to personality factors
(Eysenck 1967) and are responsive to a range of environmental stimuli. Some
research has shown that positive emotions may adversely affect cognitive reasoning
tasks (Oaksford et al. 1996), so music inducing a positive mood might interfere with
task performance.
The research outlined above has been quasi-experimental and has explored whether
students are aware of the impact of music on their studying particularly in relation to
homework where they frequently have control over the playing of music. The present
study explores cultural and age differences in students' reported use of music in their
studying, and their perceptions of its effects on them and their work in relation to a
range of tasks.
Methodology
Three age groups were chosen: second year in high school (12 years old), last year in
school (16-18), and second year in university (age 20) representing distinct periods in
young people's lives. Four nationalities were identified for study exemplifying
different musical traditions, the USA (lacking a long, well-established musical
tradition, also the birthplace of modern pop music), the UK (similar to the USA but
with a long European musical heritage), Greece (linking the cultures of East and
West, European, but also retaining its own musical traditions) and Japan (own
traditional music with relatively recent Western influences). There were similar
numbers of males and females in each group. Overall, 150 students from each country
participated in the study, 50 from each age group. The students came from major
cities in each country selected from schools and universities having a broad intake
representing a wide range of socio-economic status.
A five-point rating scale questionnaire was developed to explore the listening habits
of the students from the different cultures. Five signified the response “always”, 4
“frequently”, 3 “occasionally”, 2 “rarely” and 1 “never”. The questionnaire was
devised based on earlier interviews undertaken with young people regarding their use
of music while studying. Responses were made to a range of statements about playing
music while studying (the actual statements are outlined in the results section).
Respondents were asked if they played music when they were revising for exams,
writing, memorising texts, reading, doing course work, editing work previously
completed, solving problems, developing ideas, thinking or learning a foreign
language. They also indicated their level of agreement to statements about the effects
of music on them while studying, the factors that informed decisions taken with
regard to playing music or not and what determined them not playing music.
Participants were also asked about the different kinds of music which they listened to.
The statements related to the type of music listened to varied between countries to
take account of national variation and were based on categories appearing in retail
outlets selling music recordings in each country. This ensured ecological validity and
provided respondents with categorisations that were familiar to them.
Results
Listening when undertaking different kinds of studying
Table 1 summarises the means and standard deviations for each age group regarding
their responses to statements about playing music while studying. Overall, the
reported extent of playing music while studying was low. There were very few
significant differences between the age groups. Those observed are for doing course
work and solving problems. Table 2 gives a summary of the means and standard
deviations for the respondents from each culture. In almost every category, the
Japanese reported playing music the least.
Table 1. Playing music while studying: age differences.
I listen to music while:
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
Studying
1.8
(1.5)
1.9
(1.4)
2.0
(1.2)
1.1
n.s.
Revising for exams
1.0
(1.3)
1.3
(1.5)
1.5
(1.3)
1.3
.0001
Writing
1.7
(1.5)
2.0
(1.4)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.05
Memorising texts
0.8
(1.2)
0.9
(1.3)
1.0
(1.1)
0.9
n.s.
Reading
1.4
(1.4)
1.5
(1.4)
1.5
(1.2)
1.5
n.s.
Doing course work
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.6
.014
Editing work previously
completed
1.3
(1.4)
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.3)
1.5
n.s.
Solving problems
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.5)
1.4
(1.2)
1.5
.032
Developing ideas
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.4)
1.7
(1.2)
1.6
n.s.
Thinking
1.7
(1.4)
2.3
(1.4)
2.2
(1.2)
2.1
n.s.
Studying my favourite subject
1.7
(1.5)
1.7
(1.5)
1.5
(1.3)
1.7
n.s.
Studying my least favourite
subject
1.7
(1.6)
1.8
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
n.s.
Learning a foreign language
1.1
(1.3)
1.1
(1.3)
0.9
(1.1)
1.0
.05
Table 2. Playing music while studying: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I listen to music while:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Table 2. Playing music while studying: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I listen to music while:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Studying
2.1
(1.5)
1.8
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.9
(1.4)
1.9
n.s.
Revising for exams
1.6
(1.5)
1.1
(1.4)
.99
(1.3)
1.3
(1.4)
1.3
.0001
Writing
2.1
(1.4)
2.2
(1.4)
1.3
(1.3)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.0001
Memorising text
1.6
(1.3)
.75
(1.0)
.65
(1.1)
1.2
(1.3)
.9
.0001
Reading
1.5
(1.3)
1.5
(1.3)
1.4
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4
1.5
n.s.
Doing course work
1.6
(1.5)
1.9
(1.4)
.98
(1.1)
1.8
(1.4)
1.6
.0001
Editing work previously
completed
1.9
(1.4)
1.1
(1.3)
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.3)
1.5
.0001
Solving problems
1.5
(1.4)
1.5
(1.5)
1.3
(1.3)
1.7
(1.4)
1.5
.02
Developing ideas
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
(1.4)
1.1
(1.2)
1.9
(1.4)
1.6
.0001
Thinking
1.9
(1.3)
2.4
(1.5)
1.6
(1.4)
2.4
(1.2)
2.1
.0001
Studying my favourite
subject
1.9
(1.4)
1.5
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
(1.4)
1.7
n.s.
Studying my least
favourite subject
1.9
(1.4)
1.6
(1.6)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
(1.5)
1.7
.03
Learning a foreign
language
.84
(1.1)
1.3
(1.4)
1.3
(1.2)
.76
(1.1)
1.1
.0001
A repeated measures analysis of variance found significant differences between the
means across questions demonstrating that the students played music differentially,
depending on the type of studying that they were undertaking (F = 13.01, df = 11, p =
.0001). Music was most often played in the background when thinking followed by
writing and least often when memorising texts or learning a foreign language.
Beliefs about the effects of music on studying
Table 3 reports age differences in the perceived effects of playing music on studying.
There were no statistically significant differences between secondary, advanced
secondary and university students, in relation to their perceptions of whether music
helped them to concentrate, kept them company, alleviated boredom, helped them
learn faster, interfered because they “sang along”, or interfered because it developed a
too high level of arousal. There were significant differences in relation to the extent to
which music was seen to be relaxing and to interfere with concentration, the
university and advanced students perceiving that music had a more relaxing effect but
also interfered with their concentration more than their younger counterparts. These
differences may reflect the type of music being played or increasing meta-cognitive
awareness about the effects of music with increasing age.
Table 3. Perceived effects of playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
Helps me to concentrate
2.0
(1.5)
2.0
(1.3)
1.7
(1.2)
1.9
n.s.
Keeps me company
2.7
(1.3)
2.8
(1.3)
2.7
(1.0)
2.8
n.s.
Alleviates my boredom
2.9
(1.3)
3.1
(1.1)
3.0
(1.0)
3.0
n.s.
Relaxes me
3.0
(1.2)
3.3
(1.1)
3.3
(0.8)
3.2
.03
Helps me learn faster
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.3)
1.3
(1.1)
1.5
n.s.
Interferes so I can't concentrate
1.5
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
2.1
(1.3)
1.7
.0001
Interferes because I sing along
1.5
(1.5)
1.8
(1.5)
1.9
(1.3)
1.8
n.s.
Interferes because it makes me too
aroused
1.0
(1.3)
1.0
(1.2)
1.0
(1.1)
1.0
n.s.
Table 4 sets out the means and standard deviations of respondents from each culture.
Overall, there was general agreement that music helped the students to relax,
alleviated boredom and kept them company but could interfere with concentration.
The Greek students responded significantly more positively to almost every
statement.
Table 4. Perceived effects of playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Helps me to concentrate
2.0
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4)
2.2
(1.2)
1.9
.0001
Keeps me company
2.6
(1.3)
3.4 (.9)
2.3
(1.3)
2.8
(1.1)
2.8
.0001
Alleviates my boredom
2.9
(1.2)
3.2
(1.0)
3.0
(1.2)
3.0
(1.1)
3.0
n.s.
Relaxes me
3.1
(1.1)
3.5 (.9)
3.1
(1.1)
3.1
(1.0)
3.2
.003
Table 4. Perceived effects of playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Helps me learn faster
1.5
(1.4)
1.3
(1.2)
1.6
(1.4)
1.4
(1.2)
1.5
n.s.
Interferes so that I can't
concentrate
1.7
(1.3)
2.1
(1.4)
1.5
(1.3)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
.003
Interferes because I sing
along
1.7
(1.4)
2.4
(1.4)
1.3
(1.4)
1.8
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
Interferes because it makes
me too aroused
1.1
(1.2)
1.1
(1.4)
.77
(1.1)
1.0
(1.2)
.99
n.s.
Across the sample, there were statistically significant differences in responses to each
statement (F = 1.057, df = 6, p = .05). Strongest agreement was for statements relating
to relaxation and relieving boredom, weakest to raising arousal and helping students
learn faster.
Factors affecting when music was listened to
Table 5 sets out age differences in respondents' reported decisions about playing
music while studying. The older students reported being more prepared to take action
to reduce any negative effects of the music than the younger students. Younger
students were more likely to turn on music when they were disturbed by other sounds
and turn it off if someone suggested they should. Advanced secondary school students
were more influenced than the others about deciding to play music depending on the
subject they were studying, and the nature of the subject. University students turned
the music off more than the school students when they were unable to concentrate,
when it made them nervous and when they were unable to learn.
Table 5. Influences on playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
I listen to music when studying when
I am happy
2.3
(1.5)
2.4
(1.5)
2.1
(1.3)
2.3
n.s.
I listen to music when I am studying
I am bored
2.4
(1.5)
2.2
(1.5)
2.2
(1.4)
2.3
n.s.
I listen to music when I like the
subject
1.8
(1.5)
1.8
(1.5)
1.7
(1.2)
1.8
n.s.
I listen to music when I dislike the
subject
1.7
(1.5)
1.9
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
n.s.
I turn the music off when I am
disturbed by other noises
2.1
(1.6)
1.7
(1.5)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.017
Table 5. Influences on playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
I turn the music off when I can't
concentrate
1.7
(1.5)
2.8
(1.4)
3.1
(1.2)
2.9
.001
I turn the music off when it makes
me nervous
1.5
(1.6)
1.8
(1.6)
2.0
(1.6)
1.8
.015
I turn the music off when I am
unable to learn
2.1
(1.7)
2.3
(1.6)
2.7
(1.4)
2.4
.0001
I turn the music off when someone
suggests I should
1.9
(1.5)
1.4
(1.4)
1.4
(1.2)
1.6
.0001
Listening to music depends on the
type of music
2.4
(1.4)
2.5
(1.5)
2.4
(1.3)
2.4
n.s.
Listening to music depends on the
subject I am studying
1.6
(1.4)
2.0
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
.009
Listening to music depends on the
nature of the subject
1.4
(1.3)
2.0
(1.5)
1.5
(1.2)
1.6
.0001
Listening to music depends on the
mood I am in
2.7
(1.4)
2.9
(1.4)
2.8
(1.3)
2.8
n.s.
Responses to statements about the occasions when they were prompted to play music
for the different cultural groups were varied (see Table 6). The UK students
responded more positively to a range of factors that encouraged them to play music,
while the Greek students exhibited the most variability depending on the subject being
studied and their mood. Individual variation, perhaps related to personality
characteristics, may be responsible for some of this variation. Overall, the students
tended to agree that they would turn the music off if it disrupted their concentration
(mean 2.9); the weakest responses to this statement were made by the Japanese and
American students, the strongest by the UK students. The Japanese gave the most
negative response to turning the music off when they were unable to learn. There
were no significant differences in responses to statements about whether music would
be turned off if someone suggested that it should be. Responses to this were generally
negative.
Table 6. Influences on playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
I listen to music when
studying when I am happy
2.6
(1.3)
2.5
(1.4)
1.9
(1.5)
2.3
(1.5)
2.3
.0001
I listen to music when
studying when I am bored
2.6
(1.3)
1.9
(1.5)
2.4
(1.4)
2.3
(1.4)
2.3
.0001
I listen to music when I like
the subject
2.1
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
(1.5)
1.8
.005
I listen to music when I
2.1
1.7
1.3
1.9
1.8
.0001
Table 6. Influences on playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
dislike the subject
(1.5)
(1.4)
(1.4)
(1.5)
I turn the music off when I am
disturbed by other noises
2.2
(1.4)
2.1
(1.4)
1.2
(1.4)
2.0
(1.5)
1.9
.0001
I turn the music off when I
can't concentrate
2.9
(1.4)
3.2
(1.1)
2.6
(1.6)
2.6
(1.4)
2.9
.0001
I turn the music off when it
makes me nervous
1.3
(1.5)
2.3
(1.6)
1.9
(1.7)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
I turn the music off when I am
unable to learn
2.3
(1.6)
2.8
(1.3)
2.0
(1.7)
2.2
(1.6)
2.7
.0001
I turn the music off when
someone suggests I should
1.5
(1.3)
1.8
(1.4)
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.4)
1.6
n.s.
Listening to music depends on
the type of music
2.6
(1.3)
2.6
(1.4)
2.1
(1.4)
2.5
(1.4)
2.4
.006
Listening to music depends on
the subject
1.9
(1.4)
2.2
(1.4)
1.2
(1.2)
1.7
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
Listening to music depends on
the nature of the subject
1.8
(1.4)
2.0
(1.4)
1.1
(1.2)
1.6
(1.3)
1.6
.0001
Listening to music depends on
the mood I am in
2.9
(1.2)
3.2
(1.2)
2.8
(1.4)
2.4
(1.5)
2.8
.0001
Characteristics and types of music listened to
Only one aspect of the characteristics of the music listened to while studying was
different for the three age groups. This was whether the students played music with a
fast tempo. The most negative response to this statement came from the advanced
secondary students (mean = 1.8, SD = 1.36), the most positive response from the
youngest students (mean 2.2, SD = 1.45). These differences were statistically
significant (F = 5.14, df = 2, p = .006).
There were also few significant differences in nationality between the characteristics
of music that was played while studying, with the exception of instrumental music (F
= 5.3, df = 3.593, p = .001) and arousing and calming music (F = 15.3, df = 3.595, p =
.001; F = 2.8, df = 3.596, p = .04). The Japanese played instrumental music the least,
the US students calming music the least and the UK and US students arousing music
the least. The Greeks reported listening to all of these the most.
A repeated measures analysis of variance across the whole sample comparing the
various musical characteristics showed no statistically significant differences,
suggesting that no particular characteristics determine the music which is played.
Overall, young people most often played their favourite songs and least often
instrumental or arousing music.
The most common type of music played across all nationalities and age groups was
recorded pop music, the least classical music. Because of the different types of music
available in the different cultures, it was not possible to make rigorous comparisons
but the evidence suggested that the variety of music played increased with age.
Overall, the distribution of scores reflected considerable individual diversity.
Discussion
These findings are based on self-perceptions and therefore must be interpreted with
some caution. However, there are indications that, overall, students do not play music
while studying extensively and that they rarely play music while revising for
examinations, memorising material or learning a foreign language and most often play
music when thinking or writing. This suggests that they are aware that their
performance on some tasks will be impaired, namely those where the cognitive
processes involved are shared with those involved in the processing of music. The
students were not able to articulate this in the interviews from which the questionnaire
statements were derived but they were aware of the impact on their learning.
Music played while studying was most strongly reported to relax, alleviate boredom
and help concentration. Students reported that they mainly played music while
studying when they were happy or bored and that their mood was a determinant of
their decision. Most turned off the music when they felt that it was interfering with
their concentration.
There were only relatively small differences between the students in relation to their
perceptions of the ways that music supported or hindered their studying, although the
university and advanced students perceived that music was more relaxing than their
younger counterparts. This may reflect increased pressure as students progress
through their academic courses or may simply mean that older students are more self-
aware. They were certainly more prepared to take action in relation to any negative
effects, perhaps because the tasks that they were set required greater focus and
concentration. Across all age groups there was disagreement that they turned music
off when someone suggested that they should. This suggests that parents' attempts to
prevent music being played while their offspring are studying are likely to be
unproductive.
Cultural factors appeared to affect the way that music was used to influence mood and
ameliorate other distractions. Overall, the Greek students tended to play music the
most, the Japanese the least. The UK and US students, in most cases, fell between
these two extremes and shared similar listening habits and uses of music in studying,
although there were some exceptions. However, the large standard deviations suggest
that these overall trends are underpinned by considerable individual variation in the
extent to which music is played while studying, the tasks that it is used to support and
the extent to which the individual is aware of its positive or negative effects.
The most common type of music played across all nationalities was recorded pop
music, the least common classical music. Overall, there were relatively few age
differences in the kinds of music selected. For the population as a whole it was the
variety of music, which was played, which seemed to increase with age. This supports
earlier research findings (LeBlanc and McCrary 1983).
Overall, the findings suggest that parents and educators should not be too concerned
when students play music while studying. Students are aware of its effects on
performance, use it to support their learning, seem to know instinctively which tasks
will be most affected, and generally turn the music off when it is interfering,
particularly as they get older. For younger students, parents and educators might take
time to explain how music can affect arousal levels which in turn affect concentration
and also point out those tasks that are more likely to be affected because of the
processing mechanisms that they share with music.
Notes on contributors
Anastasia Kotsopoulou, an educational psychologist, is the head of the Psychology
Department of the City University of Seattle in Athens.
Susan Hallam is the dean of the Faculty of Policy and Society at the Institute of
Education, University of London. She has extensive research and publications relating
to disaffection from school, and the psychology of music and music education.
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List of Tables
Table 1. Playing music while studying: age differences.
I listen to music while:
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
Studying
1.8
(1.5)
1.9
(1.4)
2.0
(1.2)
1.1
n.s.
Revising for exams
1.0
(1.3)
1.3
(1.5)
1.5
(1.3)
1.3
.0001
Writing
1.7
(1.5)
2.0
(1.4)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.05
Memorising texts
0.8
(1.2)
0.9
(1.3)
1.0
(1.1)
0.9
n.s.
Reading
1.4
1.5
1.5
1.5
n.s.
Table 1. Playing music while studying: age differences.
I listen to music while:
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
(1.4)
(1.4)
(1.2)
Doing course work
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.6
.014
Editing work previously
completed
1.3
(1.4)
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.3)
1.5
n.s.
Solving problems
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.5)
1.4
(1.2)
1.5
.032
Developing ideas
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.4)
1.7
(1.2)
1.6
n.s.
Thinking
1.7
(1.4)
2.3
(1.4)
2.2
(1.2)
2.1
n.s.
Studying my favourite subject
1.7
(1.5)
1.7
(1.5)
1.5
(1.3)
1.7
n.s.
Studying my least favourite
subject
1.7
(1.6)
1.8
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
n.s.
Learning a foreign language
1.1
(1.3)
1.1
(1.3)
0.9
(1.1)
1.0
.05
Table 2. Playing music while studying: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I listen to music while:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Studying
2.1
(1.5)
1.8
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.9
(1.4)
1.9
n.s.
Revising for exams
1.6
(1.5)
1.1
(1.4)
.99
(1.3)
1.3
(1.4)
1.3
.0001
Writing
2.1
(1.4)
2.2
(1.4)
1.3
(1.3)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.0001
Memorising text
1.6
(1.3)
.75
(1.0)
.65
(1.1)
1.2
(1.3)
.9
.0001
Reading
1.5
(1.3)
1.5
(1.3)
1.4
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4
1.5
n.s.
Doing course work
1.6
(1.5)
1.9
(1.4)
.98
(1.1)
1.8
(1.4)
1.6
.0001
Editing work previously
completed
1.9
(1.4)
1.1
(1.3)
1.4
(1.4)
1.7
(1.3)
1.5
.0001
Solving problems
1.5
(1.4)
1.5
(1.5)
1.3
(1.3)
1.7
(1.4)
1.5
.02
Developing ideas
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
(1.4)
1.1
(1.2)
1.9
(1.4)
1.6
.0001
Table 2. Playing music while studying: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I listen to music while:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Thinking
1.9
(1.3)
2.4
(1.5)
1.6
(1.4)
2.4
(1.2)
2.1
.0001
Studying my favourite
subject
1.9
(1.4)
1.5
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
(1.4)
1.7
n.s.
Studying my least
favourite subject
1.9
(1.4)
1.6
(1.6)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
(1.5)
1.7
.03
Learning a foreign
language
.84
(1.1)
1.3
(1.4)
1.3
(1.2)
.76
(1.1)
1.1
.0001
Table 3. Perceived effects of playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
Helps me to concentrate
2.0
(1.5)
2.0
(1.3)
1.7
(1.2)
1.9
n.s.
Keeps me company
2.7
(1.3)
2.8
(1.3)
2.7
(1.0)
2.8
n.s.
Alleviates my boredom
2.9
(1.3)
3.1
(1.1)
3.0
(1.0)
3.0
n.s.
Relaxes me
3.0
(1.2)
3.3
(1.1)
3.3
(0.8)
3.2
.03
Helps me learn faster
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.3)
1.3
(1.1)
1.5
n.s.
Interferes so I can't concentrate
1.5
(1.5)
1.6
(1.3)
2.1
(1.3)
1.7
.0001
Interferes because I sing along
1.5
(1.5)
1.8
(1.5)
1.9
(1.3)
1.8
n.s.
Interferes because it makes me too
aroused
1.0
(1.3)
1.0
(1.2)
1.0
(1.1)
1.0
n.s.
Table 4. Perceived effects of playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
Helps me to concentrate
2.0
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4)
2.2
(1.2)
1.9
.0001
Keeps me company
2.6
(1.3)
3.4 (.9)
2.3
(1.3)
2.8
(1.1)
2.8
.0001
Alleviates my boredom
2.9
3.2
3.0
3.0
3.0
n.s.
Table 4. Perceived effects of playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
I believe that music:
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
(1.2)
(1.0)
(1.2)
(1.1)
Relaxes me
3.1
(1.1)
3.5 (.9)
3.1
(1.1)
3.1
(1.0)
3.2
.003
Helps me learn faster
1.5
(1.4)
1.3
(1.2)
1.6
(1.4)
1.4
(1.2)
1.5
n.s.
Interferes so that I can't
concentrate
1.7
(1.3)
2.1
(1.4)
1.5
(1.3)
1.6
(1.3)
1.7
.003
Interferes because I sing
along
1.7
(1.4)
2.4
(1.4)
1.3
(1.4)
1.8
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
Interferes because it makes
me too aroused
1.1
(1.2)
1.1
(1.4)
.77
(1.1)
1.0
(1.2)
.99
n.s.
Table 5. Influences on playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
I listen to music when studying when
I am happy
2.3
(1.5)
2.4
(1.5)
2.1
(1.3)
2.3
n.s.
I listen to music when I am studying
I am bored
2.4
(1.5)
2.2
(1.5)
2.2
(1.4)
2.3
n.s.
I listen to music when I like the
subject
1.8
(1.5)
1.8
(1.5)
1.7
(1.2)
1.8
n.s.
I listen to music when I dislike the
subject
1.7
(1.5)
1.9
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
n.s.
I turn the music off when I am
disturbed by other noises
2.1
(1.6)
1.7
(1.5)
1.9
(1.3)
1.9
.017
I turn the music off when I can't
concentrate
1.7
(1.5)
2.8
(1.4)
3.1
(1.2)
2.9
.001
I turn the music off when it makes
me nervous
1.5
(1.6)
1.8
(1.6)
2.0
(1.6)
1.8
.015
I turn the music off when I am
unable to learn
2.1
(1.7)
2.3
(1.6)
2.7
(1.4)
2.4
.0001
I turn the music off when someone
suggests I should
1.9
(1.5)
1.4
(1.4)
1.4
(1.2)
1.6
.0001
Listening to music depends on the
type of music
2.4
(1.4)
2.5
(1.5)
2.4
(1.3)
2.4
n.s.
Listening to music depends on the
subject I am studying
1.6
(1.4)
2.0
(1.5)
1.7
(1.3)
1.8
.009
Listening to music depends on the
nature of the subject
1.4
(1.3)
2.0
(1.5)
1.5
(1.2)
1.6
.0001
Table 5. Influences on playing music: age differences.
Mean (SD)
12-13
15-16
20-21
Overall
mean
Significance
Listening to music depends on the
mood I am in
2.7
(1.4)
2.9
(1.4)
2.8
(1.3)
2.8
n.s.
Table 6. Influences on playing music: cultural differences.
Mean (SD)
UK
Greece
Japan
USA
Overall
mean
Significance
I listen to music when
studying when I am happy
2.6
(1.3)
2.5
(1.4)
1.9
(1.5)
2.3
(1.5)
2.3
.0001
I listen to music when
studying when I am bored
2.6
(1.3)
1.9
(1.5)
2.4
(1.4)
2.3
(1.4)
2.3
.0001
I listen to music when I like
the subject
2.1
(1.4)
1.8
(1.3)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
(1.5)
1.8
.005
I listen to music when I
dislike the subject
2.1
(1.5)
1.7
(1.4)
1.3
(1.4)
1.9
(1.5)
1.8
.0001
I turn the music off when I am
disturbed by other noises
2.2
(1.4)
2.1
(1.4)
1.2
(1.4)
2.0
(1.5)
1.9
.0001
I turn the music off when I
can't concentrate
2.9
(1.4)
3.2
(1.1)
2.6
(1.6)
2.6
(1.4)
2.9
.0001
I turn the music off when it
makes me nervous
1.3
(1.5)
2.3
(1.6)
1.9
(1.7)
1.5
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
I turn the music off when I am
unable to learn
2.3
(1.6)
2.8
(1.3)
2.0
(1.7)
2.2
(1.6)
2.7
.0001
I turn the music off when
someone suggests I should
1.5
(1.3)
1.8
(1.4)
1.5
(1.4)
1.6
(1.4)
1.6
n.s.
Listening to music depends on
the type of music
2.6
(1.3)
2.6
(1.4)
2.1
(1.4)
2.5
(1.4)
2.4
.006
Listening to music depends on
the subject
1.9
(1.4)
2.2
(1.4)
1.2
(1.2)
1.7
(1.4)
1.8
.0001
Listening to music depends on
the nature of the subject
1.8
(1.4)
2.0
(1.4)
1.1
(1.2)
1.6
(1.3)
1.6
.0001
Listening to music depends on
the mood I am in
2.9
(1.2)
3.2
(1.2)
2.8
(1.4)
2.4
(1.5)
2.8
.0001
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... On the other hand, music has demonstrated to cause a negative influence on other types of academic activities like reading comprehension, but results vary depending on different aspects such as when music is used or listened to, musical aptitudes, the environment, the cognitive load, or the type of music (Hallam & MacDonald, 2008;Kempert et al., 2016;Rajab & Pitman, 2019). So, individual perceptions about music may also mediate its effects on academic performance (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010) and other variables that have still not been tested or fully controlled should also be carefully considered (Delsing, ter Bogt, Engels, & Meeus, 2008;Dunn, de Ruyter, & Bouwhuis, 2011;Lee & Hu, 2014;Mellander, Florida, Rentfrow, & Potter, 2018;Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003). For instance, music habits might play an important role in the academic achievement of adolescents, since it is an integral part of their lives, having an effect on mutually related personal and academic aspects such as self-esteem, motivation and engagement (Abril & Gault, 2008;Campbell, Connell, & Beegle, 2007;Eady & Wilson, 2004). ...
... Moreover, Reggaeton was observed as the only type of preferred music in both obtained Clusters. Rock and Pop, both originating in the early 1950s, have enjoyed a rapid dispersal around the world due to their catchy chord progressions, the ease of mixing with local rhythms and their lyrics based on everyday life (Harrison, 2002;Mauch, MacCallum, Levy, 1994) as well as its forebear, Rock (Mowsesian & Heyer, 1973), and this phenomenon is still universal (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010;Kumar et al., 2016;Mellander et al., 2018;Yeoh, 2002) Further, the most preferred genres among undergraduate students in the same locality were reported as Reggaeton, other Latin rhythms such as Bachata, Reggaeton begins with the toasting traditions of Jamaican dancehall, melodic braggadocio that took place over the island's legendary party beats and when Jamaicans immigrated to other lands, they took these lyrical lineages with them, and dancehall vocals encountered new languages and scenes in which to integrate. It is commonly built from beat patterns that are repeated throughout the song (Pangol, 2018;Rivera-Servera, 2009). ...
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Music is essential for human development, and its distribution throughout almost all individual and social environments has generated significant research far beyond the arts, as it has become a subject of inquiry in academic learning. To analyze the influence of music habits on academic performance, 123 undergraduate students were voluntarily surveyed about music habits and academic scores for a core subject were registered. The most preferred genres were Pop and Rock, followed by Reggaeton, while the least preferred were Electronic and Asian. No particular individually analyzed habits as far as the type, frequency of listening or the number of years the subject has listened to music determined general academic performance, but a negative effect of listening to any preferred genre over the fact to suspend or pass the subject while studying was observed. Besides, students who used to listen to Pop/Rock and Asian music daily and since they could remember had better academic scores. Incorporating music research in science learning would provide a better comprehension of its relevance in academic environments.
... Music listening, especially online music listening, is a common behavior of university students and youth (Hu, Lee & Wong, 2014;Kennedy, Judd, Churchward, Gray, & Krause, 2008;Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). Music is socially acceptable, healthy, inexpensive, and ubiquitously available. ...
... It has the unique potential to benefit students' learning and well-being, particularly in terms of emotion modulation, changing behaviours, and improving task performance and engagement (Aljanaki, Wiering & Veltkamp, 2016;Lamont, 2011;(Schellenberg, 2012); Schwartz, Ayres & Douglas, 2017). However, research on the effects of music on learning and well-being mostly involves school-age children (e.g., Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010), with less attention paid to university aged young adults . Also, most of these studies adopted a survey-based or experimental approach that might not have been sufficiently in-depth. ...
... The most significant effects of music listening during learning include relaxation, boredom reduction and concentration improvement (Ter Bogt et al., 2011a). Quite a few studies have considered the effects of background music on students' learning at various levels (from young children to university students) and found background music effective in enhancing student satisfaction and learning (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010;Langan & Sachs, 2013). Most studies of the effects of music on students' learning used surveys and/or experiments which are often limited to one or a few predefined music listening situations or scenarios. ...
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Music has long been recognised to be able to alter people's emotions and behaviours, yet how university students use music for learning and well-being is largely unexplored. With one of the largest music user populations in the world, China has tremendous market potential for digital music. This study explores music use behaviours for learning and well-being among university students in China and how these findings can inform future online music service design. An investigation framework is developed based on theories in multiple related disciplines such as musicology, psychology, and sociology. In-depth interviews were conducted with forty university students in twenty universities, with an interview protocol designed based on the framework. Interview transcriptions were analysed using a thematic content analysis approach. The results reveal how students use music for multiple aspects of life corresponding to learning and major components of well-being, including physical well-being, social relationships, positive emotion, self-esteem, and meaning of life. Based on the findings we discuss emerging themes on the design of online music information systems and services. This study fills the research gap on how music is used by university students for benefiting learning and well-being. The design implications are valuable for online music services to better meet users’ evolving needs. The proposed framework and method can be readily used to study music users in various populations.
... In fact, listening to music often makes it to the list of tips and hacks towards achieving better work productivity and cognitive performance (D'Angelo, 2022;Robinson, 2020;Spherion Staffing & Recruiting, 2022). Interestingly, when students and employees were asked about their reasons for listening to music whilst working/studying and the perceived impact music has on them, the answers tended to be mood-related (e.g., improves mood, helps relaxation, alleviates boredom) rather than to enhance cognitive performance or work quality (Haake, 2011;Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). Still other studies suggest that to improve 'efficiency' is also a key reason (Kononova & Yuan, 2017). ...
... As a final note, we would like to add that the selfreported benefits of BgM on task performance (by both students and office workers; e.g., Haake, 2011;Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010;Lesiuk, 2005) suggest that music facilitates the perceived improvement in performance through its impact on the affective states of listeners (e.g., improving mood, enhancing motivation, promoting relaxation, regulating energy levels), which then facilitates engagement and time spent on the tasks (rather than the impacts on performance per se). Interestingly, this is seldom the focus of research in this area and, whereas the main focus thus far has been on the interference (positive or negative) of BgM on specific cognitive processes, we have yet to assess how they interact with affective responses to the music and their relative importance in terms of task engagement, completion and performance. ...
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Research on the effect of background music (BgM) on cognitive task performance is marked by inconsistent methods and inconclusive findings. In order to provide clarity to this area, we performed a systematic review on the impact of BgM on performances in a variety of tasks whilst considering the contributions of various task, music, and population characteristics. Following the PRISMA and SWiM protocols, we identified 95 articles (154 experiments) that comprise cognitive tasks across six different cognitive domains—memory; language; thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving; inhibition; attention and processing speed. Extracted data were synthesized using vote counting based (solely) on the direction of effects and analyzed using a sign test analysis. Overall, our results demonstrate a general detrimental effect of BgM on memory and language-related tasks, and a tendency for BgM with lyrics to be more detrimental than instrumental BgM. Only one positive effect (of instrumental BgM) was found; and in most cases, we did not find any effect of BgM on task performance. We also identified a general detrimental impact of BgM towards difficult (but not easy) tasks; and towards introverts (but not extraverts). Taken together, our results show that task, music, and population-specific analyses are all necessary when studying the effects of BgM on cognitive task performance. They also call attention to the necessity to control for task difficulty as well as individual differences (especially level of extraversion) in empirical studies. Finally, our results also demonstrate that many areas remain understudied and therefore a lot more work still needs to be done to gain a comprehensive understanding of how BgM impacts cognitive task performance.
... In the case of young people, music is frequently used to enhance concentration and motivation (Papinczak et al., 2015). Indeed, for students, music can alleviate boredom while studying and relax students, although the use of music while studying may differ cross-culturally (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). ...
... For cognitive regulation, domestic students agreed more that they listen to music when completing other tasks, to stay concentrated, or to block out noise, compared with international students. As the majority of international students in the present sample were from East Asia, this supports a similar trend identified previously-Japanese students are less likely to listen to music for several study tasks, such as revising for exams and doing coursework, compared with students from the United Kingdom or the United States (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). ...
Article
Starting university can be challenging for students, and emerging research indicates that music listening may be a helpful coping resource. At this stage, little is known about the music listening motivations of international and domestic university students, and whether there are differences between these two cohorts in terms of whether their music listening is an effective coping resource for increased well-being. These questions were examined with an online cross-sectional survey of first-year students at a major Australian university ( N = 475; 61.9% domestic, 38.1% international). Music listening was an effective coping strategy for managing stress for 72.6% of domestic students and 59.2% of international students. The relationships between music and well-being differed between cohorts—for international students (but not domestic), higher endorsement of music listening as an effective coping strategy was associated with greater well-being. In addition, a moderated mediation analysis demonstrated that, in contrast to international students, for domestic students, more music listening was associated with more use of music for emotional reasons and decreased well-being. Students’ relationship with music as a coping resource is complex, and further research is necessary to determine the direction of these effects.
... Pada era modern ini, terdapat trend pada populasi mahasiswa yang menunjukkan bahwa sebagian besar dari mereka senang mendengarkan musik. Mereka sering menggunakan musik saat belajar untuk meningkatkan konsentrasi pada tugas akademik (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). Hal ini mungkin menjadi alasan mengapa mahasiswa memiliki persepsi positif terhadap musik saat mereka belajar (Kumar et al., 2016). ...
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Dengan adanya tuntutan untuk membaca menggunakan e-book pada mahasiswa, diperlukan kemampuan reading comprehension yang lebih baik karena ketidaknyamanan membaca e-book dapat memengaruhi konsentrasi dan pemahaman. Selain itu, genre musik lo-fi sering didengarkan oleh anak muda untuk menemani proses belajar. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui pengaruh latar belakang musik lo-fi terhadap reading comprehension. Metode penelitian ini adalah metode eksperimental dengan desain between participant posttest-only dan variasi variabel presence-absence. Populasi dalam penelitian ini adalah mahasiswa Fakultas Psikologi Universitas Padjadjaran angkatan 2021 dengan sampel yang diambil sebanyak 44 mahasiswa dengan teknik pengambilan sampel random sampling. Partisipan dibagi menjadi dua kelompok, yaitu kelompok eksperimen (n = 26) dan kelompok kontrol (n = 18). Metode pengumpulan data menggunakan alat ukur reading comprehension yang disusun oleh peneliti dan mengacu pada soal TOEFL tahun 2003 yang diterjemahkan serta diadaptasi berdasarkan kriteria Taksonomi Bloom. Analisis data dilakukan dengan uji normalitas Kolmogorov-Smirnov untuk mengetahui apakah sebaran data skor reading comprehension pada kedua kelompok berdistribusi normal atau tidak. Setelah itu, uji Mann- Whitney dilakukan untuk membandingkan skor antara kelompok eksperimen dan kelompok kontrol. Hasil uji normalitas data skor kelompok eksperimen tidak berdistribusi normal (p < .05) dan hasil data skor kelompok kontrol berdistribusi normal (p > .05). Hasil uji Mann-Whitney menunjukkan bahwa tidak terdapat perbedaan skor reading comprehension yang signifikan antara kelompok eksperimen (M = 7.54) dan kelompok kontrol (M = 8.56) dengan p = .137. Berdasarkan hasil, dapat disimpulkan bahwa latar belakang musik lo-fi tidak dapat meningkatkan reading comprehension mahasiswa.
... In some particular cases, the students' generation nowadays want to listen a music for many hours. According to Kotsopoulou and Hallam (2010), the youthful years, music becomes more important with most teenagers for about three hours a day, it is part of being able to feel in relation to interpret an image to the outside world and fulfill their emotional need. Meanwhile some of the teachers see that students who are focusing their studies is the more they appreciate it. ...
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The study aims to know which the students are more interested to, either music or their studies. Most of the students are engaged in different interests' music and studies in school. There are some students can be productive in their studies with music but others fail to sustain their academic performance. In relation to this, the researchers intend to assess whether music influence more in the activity of the students in school than studying. The study used quantitative approach descriptive survey design to examine the relationship between the interest of the students music or studies in school. By complete enumeration, 236 students out of 254 students in senior high responded voluntarily to answer the questionnaire. The researchers used sum, frequency, simple percentage, weighted mean and lambda to determine the interest of the students either music or studies. The results shows that music tends to influence their studies by 13.8% because students are actively in school when there is music background. On the other hand, studying tends to influences students' music. Students shall be allowed to play music when they are studying or performing tasks because it is their way of focusing and improving their knowledge when they listen to music.
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Although listening to background music is common, there is no consensus about its effects on cognitive-task performance. One potential mediating factor that could resolve the inconsistency in findings is arousal. To explore the role of arousal in mediating the effect of background music, this survey study directly explored people’s background music listening habits during a variety of everyday tasks varying in their complexity including studying, reading, driving, and monotonous tasks. Out of the 197 participants, most participants reported listening to background music during driving or monotonous tasks but fewer did so during studying or reading. Participants who did listen to music during studying or reading mostly reported choosing instrumental music and listening to music to calm them down. Contrarily, participants who listened to music during driving or monotonous tasks reported choosing vocal music more often and listening to music to feel energised. In sum, results revealed clearly different patterns in background music listening habits between tasks varying in their complexity that are consistent with arousal mediating the effect of background music. The results also revealed that people have an implicit awareness of the effects of background music and match the music to their needs as dictated by the specific task.
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With music consumption being increasingly prominent in everyday modern life, it has become critical to examine the impact of music on the performance of cognitive tasks. Despite preexisting academic literature on the correlation between music and memorization, test-taking ability, and executive planning, conclusions from past studies regarding these cognitive tasks may not be directly applicable to writing, leaving the effects of music on writing tasks a relatively unexplored territory. Given the prevalence of music in the 21st century among all age groups, the current study explores the effects of induced mood (happy versus sad) and language (native versus foreign) of popular songs on writing productivity, measured by number of words written in a set time period. Participants in the experiment were randomly separated into four conditions based on the language and mood of songs, and each given two argumentative writing prompts to complete while listening to the songs assigned to them. Results revealed that the induced mood of the songs significantly affected the writing productivity, with participants listening to sad music producing word counts that are significantly higher than those given happy songs. No effects, however, were found for the language of the music’s lyrical content, suggesting that the language of a song has no significant impact on writing productivity.
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The usual home study conditions of 387 students in Grades 5 through 9 were surveyed. Most students, regardless of reading skill level, selected quiet settings to perform reading assignments, but did mathematics and written work with a radio, stereo, or TV on. Junior high students were somewhat more likely than elementary school students to prefer quiet settings for reading, and to prefer radio or stereo to TV while doing mathematics. Students’ ratings regarding the effects of different settings on their studying indicated that, overall, TV was considered to be a moderate distractor, but radio or stereo was generally regarded as beneficial. The results suggest that the motivational, as well as the cognitive effects of "distracting" stimuli in real-life study situations may need to be considered.
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27 male and 27 female high school students read a passage of literature in the presence of silence, low information-load, or high information-load music. Comprehension was best in the first music condition, worst in the last condition.
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The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology provides a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in this fast-growing area of research. With contributions from experts in the field, the coverage offered has both range and depth. The fifty-two articles are divided into eleven sections covering both experimental and theoretical perspectives. Ten sections each present articles that focus on specific areas of music psychology: the origins and functions of music; music perception; responses to music; music and the brain; musical development; learning musical skills; musical performance; composition and improvisation; the role of music in our everyday lives; and music therapy and conceptual frameworks. In each section, authors critically review the literature, highlight current issues, and explore possibilities for the future. The final section examines how in recent years the study of music psychology has broadened to include a range of other scientific disciplines. It considers the way that the research has developed in relation to technological advances, fostering links across the field and providing an overview of the areas where the field needs further development in the future.
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This study measured the effect of four levels of tempo on the expressed preference of fifth and sixth grade students for traditional jazz music listening examples. A listening test was administered to 163 students in seven classrooms in south central Michigan. Test reliability was evaluated in terms of common factor concentration, student behavior was observed during the test, and free response data were solicited from students at the end of the measurement procedure as an additional check on results. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance disclosed a significant effect for tempo, and a priori comparisons showed significant differences between the slowest tempo level and each increasingly faster level of tempo. Students rated each faster level of tempo higher than slower levels. There was a strong positive correlation between increases of tempo and higher preference ratings. This study confirms the effect of tempo suggested in previous studies in the series, which were inconclusive because of interaction between independent variables.
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Research on the effects of background music has a long history. Early work was not embedded within a theoretical framework, was often poorly conceptualised and produced equivocal findings. This paper reports two studies exploring the effects of music, perceived to be calming and relaxing, on performance in arithmetic and on a memory task in children aged 10-12. The calming music led to better performance on both tasks when compared with a no-music condition. Music perceived as arousing, aggressive and unpleasant disrupted performance on the memory task and led to a lower level of reported altruistic behaviour by the children. This suggests that the effects of music on task performance are mediated by arousal and mood rather than affecting cognition directly. The findings are discussed in relation to possible practical applications in the primary school and the home.
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This study was conducted to test a common sense assumption that test administrators must carefully attend to the atmosphere of the test-taking situation. Four groups of subjects were randomly assigned to one of four music conditions which were used as distractors during testing. The one control group experienced optimal testing conditions as defined by accepted standards. Results on arithmetic, spelling, and self-concept measures indicated no differences in mean test scores across groups, regardless of test condition. It is suggested that since a variety of noises is a normal part of our environment, music as a distractor is not a new experience for test-takers and therefore not distracting in a test situation.
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How positive induced mood states affect reasoning was investigated in three experiments. In Experiment 1, consistent with resource allocation theory (H. C. Ellis & P. W. Ashbrook, 1987), both positive and negative mood suppressed performance on a deontic version of Wason's selection task (P. W. Cheng & K. J. Holyoak, 1985)—participants confirmed where they normally falsify. Experiment 2 revealed the same confirmatory responses for participants performing a concurrent distracter task, indicating that induced mood states suppress reasoning by depleting central executive resources. This hypothesis was directly tested in Experiment 3. Participants in a positive, but not in a negative, mood state showed suppressed performance on the Tower of London task (T. Shallice, 1982)—the classical central executive task. The robust positive mood effects and the confirmation effects are discussed in terms of the D. A. Norman and T. Shallice (1986) model of central executive function and recent accounts of selection task performance (L. Cosmides, 1989; K. I. Manktelow & D. E. Over, 1991; M. Oaksford & N. Chater, 1994). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)