When does music make you more productive?

Posted on May 9, 2016

Photo: flickr

Absorbing and remembering new information is best done with the music off, suggests a 2010 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology. Adults aged 18 to 30 were asked to recall a series of sounds presented in a particular order. Participants’ performance suffered when music was played while they carried out the task as compared to when they completed the task in a quiet environment. This finding is key to understanding another condition under which music can improve performance: when a well-practiced expert needs to achieve the relaxed focus necessary to execute a job he’s done many times before. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that surgeons carrying out a task in the laboratory worked more accurately when music that they liked was playing.

While music can be beneficial for surgeons' productivity, it may distract others in the room. One survey of anaesthetists found that about a quarter felt that music “reduced their vigilance and impaired their communication with other staff,” and about half felt that music was distracting when they were dealing with a problem with the anesthesia.

Research suggests that singing along might even heighten the distraction. A study presented earlier this month at the International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, reported that singing along with music in a car may slow drivers’ responses to potential hazards.

Classical or instrumental music enhances mental performance more than music with lyrics. Music can make rote or routine tasks (think folding laundry or filing papers) less boring and more enjoyable. Runners who listen to music go faster. But when you need to give learning and remembering your full attention, silence is golden.


Source material from Time


Mental Health News