Many things I do throughout my day, I do with music. I listen to music when I’m just laying around my room, walking to class, or working out at the gym. One thing I sometimes do without music however is school work. I find it hard for me to concentrate on my school work with loud music on in the background. I will sometimes however listen to softer music, or sometimes even sports talk radio while I work. Conversely, my roommate can do homework while listening to louder music, even rap and faster music. Because of this contrast in styles I wanted to look into listening to music while studying, and if it is detrimental, or beneficial, or if it just depends on the person.
There are many conflicting reports out there in many articles that I browsed through. Many articles state how listening to music while studying or learning can be beneficial to the student. One article that I found described the benefits of classical music on students test scores. The University of research in France found that students who took a math quiz after sitting in a lecture with classical music in the background scored higher than those who sat in the lecture without music. Their hypothesis behind their findings is that the classical music causes the students to be at a more emotional state where they retain information at a better rate (USC).
On the other hand there are articles and studies that claim that listening to music decreases your performance in school. A 1977 study conducted by Smith and Morris compared the cognitive skills of students while either listening to their favorite genre of music, or not listening to music at all. The individuals were asked to repeat a set of numbers backwards. The results showed that those who were not listening to music at all performed far better than those who were listening to their favorite genre of music (Inquires). Another study I found was conducted by the University of Wales. In the study there were five different test groups that ranged from complete silence while completing a test to heavy metal music to completing a test with no music at all. Total there were four groups that had music or some sound during the test, and one with complete silence. “Steady state speech” in which a single number was repeated for the entirety of the test. “Changing state speech” in which different numbers were played throughout the test. “Liked music” in which a song of the subjects favorite genre choice was played throughout the test. And “Disliked music” in which a song of the students distaste ex. heavy metal was played throughout the test. The test was a series recall test in which the students were asked to repeat a series of number in the same sequence that they were first introduced to them. The study concluded that there was no difference in performance between the two music and changing state groups, however the group that completed the test in complete silence, and steady state groups performed better (Mind). These two test results show that there could possibly be a link to decreased test performance due to music.
Overall the conflicting test results, and articles lead to the conclusion that it just depends. It depends on the situation, what you are completing, and the mental make up of the person doing the work.