Keystone Oaks School District News Article

Should I listen to music while studying?

If you have never listened to music while studying, reading, or writing, it is to be commended, but for all others who are culturally influenced human beings, you shouldn’t be listening to your favorite tunes while studying.

Music influences our minds and conveys emotion through pure noise. It lets us focus, relax, or pump ourselves up depending on the genre and the BPM (beats per minute). However, music does not positively influence studying or test-taking. Mrs. Young, a psychology teacher at Keystone Oaks, specified that musicians become positively affected by music because it “creates neural connections” yet a pure listener does not share the same benefits. A study conducted by Janina A. M. Lehmann and Tina Seufert at Ulm University in Ulm, Germany concluded that music is more of a hindrance to memory capacity compared to silent studying, especially when the music has lyrics which tends to be more distracting. Based on the results of the study they said, “we cannot recommend learning with background music” and “learners should be careful with their decision as to which music they chose to listen to”.

Did your parents play classical music when you were younger? They probably believed in The Mozart Effect, a statistical and psychological phenomenon that originated from a study done in 1993 that concluded that Mozart music can induce a short-term improvement (lasting only about 10 minutes) on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as "spatial-temporal reasoning". Psychologist Francis Rauscher who originally published the study said, “It’s very important to note that we did not find effects for general intelligence”. Yet a short time after news got hold of the information, the context became misconstrued and generalized. Rauscher said, “Americans believe in self-improvement, but also are fond of quick fixes,” was the reason for the misinformation and confusion in the country.

It’s key to note: working with background music isn’t all bad. Listening to a preferred genre can help you work faster due to improving mood and positivity. "The key to it is that you have to enjoy the music," Rauscher said. "If you hate Mozart you're not going to find a Mozart Effect. If you love Pearl Jam, you're going to find a Pearl Jam effect."


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