What are students listening to? Why are their earbuds always in? Do they listen to music to cancel out the background noise? Does music increase or decrease their productivity? Does music make any difference?
While a minority of students claim that music distracts them, most students suggest that the combination of studying and music are inseparable.
According to a junior at Ursuline Academy, “music benefits my work and helps me reach my best as I am in the best mood,”
When mentioning music’s effect on studying students, the Mozart Effect, a brief enrichment of abilities after listening to Mozart, come to mind. The public usually misconceives that listening to Mozart makes you “smarter”. Mozart does not make you more intelligent; however, within 10-15 minutes after a Mozart listening will enhance your studying potential.
According to Learning Scientists, “The finding was reported by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky in an experiment where they had students listen to Mozart’s piano sonata, to a relaxation music, or to no music at all [silence condition] before performing a spatial reasoning task (a subtest from the Stanford-Binet intelligence scale). The researchers found that participants’ performance on the spatial reasoning task improved after they had listened to the Mozart sonata compared to the other conditions,”
On the other hand, another idea on the possible benefits of listening to background music while studying is the “arousal-emotion/mood-activation hypothesis”, a theory that one’s preferred music has a positive effect on one’s performance. However, there is also the idea “changing state hypothesis” which infers that fast-changing music could lead to mediocre performance.
Scientists tested an experiment on students under three circumstances: silence, aggressive music, or calm music. The results found that performance was best when pupils had studied with pleasant music playing in the background. Performance was worst in the unpleasant, aggressive music condition. Thus, this experiment confirms the “arousal-emotion/ mood-activation hypothesis” was updated as music that puts you in a good mood and has smooth transitions can be beneficial while studying.
So, should you listen to music while you are studying? It depends! It’s true that certain tasks require peace and full attention which may be hindered by any kind of background music. Tasks regarding critical-thinking and memory may be particularly affected by any kind of background noise and are best done in silence. However, your personality also plays a role in whether listening to music will benefit at all; you can benefit you based on music preference, volume, task, personality and age. Nevertheless, studies find positive effects of background music, and it may certainly be worth testing out.