How Music affects Concentration and Work Efficiency-Lab Packet

This topic submitted by Meg Rebholz, Katie Kean, Wiley Curran, Andrew Hagan (, ) on 10/21/05. [Section: McCollum]
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Natural Systems 1 Syllabus---Western Program---Miami University

How Music affects Concentration and Work Efficiency-Lab Packet

Research on the brain has been immense. The scientific study of the brain has become an essential endeavor in understanding human life. Music has been found to have profound effect on the brain. Psychologists and scientists have been looking at the link between music, with mood, work efficiency and concentration for years. In our experiment, we hope to find a correlation between a specific genre of music and greater work efficiency and concentration. We plan to give Miami University students a brief reading comprehension test while listening to a certain genre of music (rock, rap, classical, instrumental, techno, and no music). After testing 90 students, we hope to reach a conclusion about what music helps concentration and work efficiency. If we are able to come to a conclusion, we will have a study skill that will help college students perform better on tests and with homework.

In this study we seek to examine the correlations between music and the mind. We hope to uncover the profound impact that various genres of music can have on concentration and comprehension. We hypothesize, that classical music, along with soothing and instrumental music will benefit concentration greater than rock and roll music or pieces featuring fast and wild rhythms. Our research question for this project is what specific music will benefit concentration and comprehension greatestŃif at all. After researching other studies that have done on the link between music and concentration, we predict that listening to different types of music while answering questions will indeed affect the subjectŐs concentration and work efficiency. In specific, we predict that classical music will help our brain with concentration tasks. From our various studies and tests we hope to discover this helpful link between music's affect on the mind and use the results to enact better habits in our own lives. Our group wanted to perform an experiment that has validity to a personŐs everyday life. Because all of our group members are in college and feel the pressure and stress to accumulate good grades, we thought it would be a great idea to help ease the anxiety by finding a method to help with our studying. If our hypothesis turns out conclusive, it will be beneficial for people to listen to classical music while studying. We have hopes that we will find a genre of music that helps the mind concentrate more efficiently. If we can accomplish our goal by coming to a definite answer to our question our experiment will be successful. We believe that this study is interesting because the vast majority of college students, ourselves included, enjoy music and seek ways to incorporate our music in studying. As college students, we also want to find ways to improve our grades and success at taking tests. If we can find a way in which music benefits studying and comprehension, we can involve music in our studies thus enhancing the enjoyment of time studying as well as enhancing our learning abilities.

Music is powerful. It has the potential to evoke emotions and personality. Because of the profound effects music has on the human race, it has been a common link between cultures around the world for centuries. Not only does music provide entertainment and beautiful sounds, but it has an amazing effect on memory and learning. It has been found that people who study music have better GPAs and are higher achievers than those who aren't involved in music. It is also true that Hungary, Japan and the Netherlands are the top three academic countries in the world and they all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music. With that fact, the United States should promote music education in all students and stress the importance of music from an early age when children are curious and adventurous.

Through recent scientific studies there has been a much greater understanding on music and itŐs psychological effects. There have been countless studies performed to understand the complex correlation of the complicated brain and music. For example, in a study performed by Mark Tarrant, David Hargreaves, and Adrian North, the men sought to examine the manipulation of the mind based on music. In the study, they played music in a gym and examined the moods through testing their subjects immediately following their workout. They offered the participants the ability to help out a charity, thus examining the affect that the music had on them. They measured two different groups, those who listened to annoying music and those who listened to uplifting music. The results revealed that the uplifting music did in fact manipulate the mind by causing the subjects to be more supportive, while the people who listened to the annoying music were short-tempered and unhelpful. Another famous study has dealt with how MozartŐs masterpieces help concentration and memorization when studying for academics. It has been found in many different studies that because of the mathematical rhythms in MozartŐs musical pieces, mental clarity is enhanced, therefore improving study skills. After researching this study, our group was able to construct our own hypothesis. The study also made us more hopeful that our hypothesis would turn our conclusive. An experiment performed by Teresa Lesiuk dealt with the effect of listening to music on work performance. She concluded that quality of work and time-on-task work was least efficient with no music. Her experiment showed that people produce more quality work while listening to music and they finish their work faster when listening to music. It also stated that work environments with music help employee moods. This study helps our experiment, but lacks the difference in music genres on work efficiency. With our experiment, we will be able to take this specific study even further by finding out what specific genre of music helps work efficiency and mood.

Exploring multiple sources and studies performed by other scientists has only helped strengthen our own experiment and shed light onto different facets of our study. With the help of outside information, we hope to provide a well constructed experiment with reliable results. From our research, we have built a vast base of knowledge on not only music's effects on the mind, but mood, tension, and other factors which could possibly hinder our experiment. The knowledge we have gained on the diverse human responses to various genres of music have helped support our belief that music can in fact have both beneficial and harmful consequences.

Our study seeks to examine not only our narrowly defined question, but several broader inquiries. Walking into King Library, there are a vast number of students hard at work while tuned into their iPods. In our study, we seek to examine what genre of music will be most beneficial. On a larger scale however, our study examines several broader topics and has many far reaching effects on student's lives. The study will work to reach conclusions on how students can improve academic performance as well as comprehension and mental efficiency.

In researching this topic, we have come across many studies that also explore the link between music and the mind.

Hargreaves, David, Mark Tarrant, and Adrian North. "The Effects of Music on Helping Behavior." Environment and Behavior 36 (2004). 10 Sep 2005 .
This was an extremely beneficial study was performed on this topic by Mark Tarrant, David Hargreaves, and Adrian North. These men sought to examine the manipulation of the mind based on music. They played music in a gym and examined the moods through testing their subjects immediately following their workout. They offered the participants the ability to help out a charity, thus examining the affect that the music had on them. They had two different groups which they measured those who listened to annoying music and those who listened were exposed to uplifting music. The results revealed that the uplifting music did in fact manipulate the mind by causing the subjects to be more supportive.

Weinberger, Norman . The Mozart Effect: A Small Part of the Big Picture. 7 ed. Sacramento: Regents of the University of California, 2000.
One particular article we came across examined the effect of classical music's mathematical rhythms. According to their studies, the format of the mathematical rhythms in Mozart's pieces contain various factors which enhance mental clarity.

Lesiuk, Teresa. "The Effect of music listening on work performance." Psychology of Music. Vol.33, No. 2, 173-191 (2005). .
This journal article found results that indicate that in a work environment, quality of work is lowest with no music and time-on-task was longest with no music as well. It also states the environments with music help mood and increase quality of work when music is present. We hope that our experiment shows these results as well.

Platel, H. "The Structural Components of Music Perception. A Functional Anatomical Study." Brain. Vol 120, Issue 2: 229-243. Oxford University Press 1997.
This journal article relates to our experiment in a more medical standpoint. Their experiment explores the relationship between the cerebral structures and music appreciation. It is essential that we look at medical journal articles so we understand the medical basis to our experiment. Our mind is complex and extraordinary and music plays a profound affect on our brain and the way it works.

McCraty, R. "The Effects of Different Types of Music on Mood, Tension, and Mental Clarity." Pub Med. 1998 Jan; 4 (1): 75-84. 7 Sep 2005. .
This journal article touched on not only music and its effect on work efficiency, but also music's effect on tension, mood and mental clarity. Because it includes more than just mental clarity, it gives us more information and research to work with. The study found that designer music (music made to have a specific effect on the listener) increased positive feelings and concentration levels. This journal article has many similarities to our experiment and coincides with our hypothesis.

Florentine, Mary. "On the Behavioral Characteristics of Loud-Music Listening." Ear and Hearing: The Official Journal of the American Auditory Society. 19(6):420-428, 1998 Dec.
This journal discusses behavior and its link to listening excessively to loud music. They created a survey and test 90 subjects. Eight of the surveyors showed behaviors that are present in substance abusers. This is relevant to our experiment because we will be using rock and other types of loud music to measure concentration„this journal taps into the musical category.
Sweeney, J.C. "The Role of Cognitions and Emotions in the Music-approach-avoidance Behavior Relationhip." Journal of Services Marketing. Vol 16, 1: 51-69. March 2002. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
This study dealt with an experiment in a women's fashion store. This journal differed from the other's we researched, however it touched on a different aspect of our experiment. The journal states that music affects customer's perceptions of service quality as well as feelings of arousals in terms of a women's fashion store. After reading different journals like this one, it is obvious that music affects all aspects of life, not just mood and concentration.

McCraty, Rollin. "The Effects of Different Types of Music on Mood, Tension, and Mental Clarity." HeartMath 76 (2002). 17 Sep 2005 .
A third study we found, looked into the connections between music, mood, and mental clarity. They sought to test the different effects that diverse genres of music had on subjects through psychological questioning and profiling. They tested four genres of music from various corners of the music world; Grunge Rock, New Age, Classical, and Designer. The results were conclusive in revealing that grunge rock evoked hostility and greatly reduced mental clarity and motivation. We found this particularly important to our studies as we also plan to test primarily college students who commonly listen to grunge music.

Carroll, Robert Todd. "Mozart Effect." The Skeptic's Dictionary 2005. .
This article explores the effect that Mozart music has on the mind. It gives the history of the scientist who examined this issue. They included statistics to prove their case the students do better when they are exposed to Mozart and classical music. This article correlates to our hypothesis that classical music will improve concentration.

O'Donnell, Laurence. Music and the Brain. 1999. 17 Sep 2005. .
This article emphasizes the power of music on memory and learning, the effects of music. It concludes that people who study music have better GPAs and are higher achievers than those who aren't in music. It included the fact that "Hungary, Japan, and the Netherlands, the top three academic countries in the world, all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music."

"Noise." American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 2005.
This article focuses on noise, it's definition, and the effects it can have on us. In the article noise is defined as, "a signal that interferes with the detection of or quality of another signal." Further in the article music is classified as a type of noise which can affect our physical health and well being. The ranges of different noises are discussed including loud, hazardous noise, noise in the workplace, noise in the community and many more. The article concludes with different ways to prevent the damages different noises can have on our day to day lives, and how to properly adapt to noises.
Watkins, Terry. "Is Music Neutral?" 1995.
This article addresses the issue of whether or not music can be defined as neutral. The ďmusic' which the author is referring to is just the score and not the lyrics. The conclusion reached is that no, music is not in any way neutral and that it in fact has a way of manipulating its listeners. Music has been found to have numerous effects, both positive and negative, on the human mind and body. The article concludes with evidence dating back to the Bible confirming that music is not a neutral subject, and every type will have some type of effect on the mind and body.

Holtz, Robert Lee. Music and the Brain. 13, December. 2002.
This article focuses on music and how it literally affects the human brain. He explains this by writing that music actually rewires the brain to create new patterns of activity in different areas. It has been proven that those who are more experienced with music actually have different areas of the brain such as the cortex and the corpus callosum which are much larger than those who are inexperienced with music. The article continues to discuss the how music affects the different areas of the brain, and how beneficial music is in our daily lives.

Other helpful cites included:

Research Design:
Our experiment will be conducted using a sample around 90 students. In this sample population of college students, we will administer a brief reading comprehension quiz. During the quiz, a specific genre of music will be played while the student reads and answers the quiz questions. Because the quiz will take no longer than ten minutes, we will have a play list of a couple songs for each genre. For example, if the subject were to be tested with techno music they will most likely listen to three total techno songs considering songs are roughly 4 minutes long. The different genres of music we plan to test are rock and roll, rap, classical, instrumental, and techno. The control group will be no music at all. We plan to test fifteen people for each genre of music so we end up with 90 students total. When administering the test, the subject will be exposed to a single genre and performance on the comprehension quiz will be examined. The music will be played using a set play list that will have been produced on our iPod's in order to maintain consistency. The large sample size will enable us to test the six (rock, rap, classical, instrumental, techno, and no music) diverse genres on various individuals while eliminating variation in human response. Our results will be based on the subject's performance on a sample ACT reading comprehension test given to most high school seniors. Every student will receive the same quiz to avoid variation in difficulty and time it takes to complete. We were going to attach the reading comprehension test which we will be administering as well as a list of the songs which will be utilized to represent the diverse genres, however, we realized posting this would interfere with our testing results if the students could view them prior to the testing. We plan on involving the class in our study by using them as subjects in our test. Each group member will take their subject into a quiet room/place. When the subject begins the test, we will start a watch to keep track of the time it takes them to complete. Once they start the reading comprehension, they will start their iPod, which will start the music. The music will last for the duration of the test. When the subjects are finished, we will record the time it took, the accuracy of the answers (their score), the genre of music, and their sex. Because there are four people in our group, we each will need to perform roughly 22 tests each. After testing the class, we will perform more experiments on our own time at the library or quiet places at our residencies. Once we have performed roughly 90 tests we hope to see a trend that points to answering our hypothesis. If it takes noticeably less time to complete the quiz while listening to classical music, and people receive better scores, we will know that our prediction is correct.

The materials we will be utilizing in the testing of this experiment will be an iPod, headphones, ACT questionnaire, digital watch, and pencil. We will use these materials as was described above by testing individual subjects by having them read a story and answer simple comprehension questions. While listening to the iPod the subjects will use a pencil to answer the questionnaire while being timed with a digital watch. The iPod has a set play list of songs which fit into the genres defined for this project. We will be administering the test to the class as well as many other peers at Miami University using them as subjects for our data collection. During our allotted time period in class, each member of the group (Katie, Meg, Wiley, and Andrew) will take one subject at a time into a quiet space in the building. The class period will give us a chance to test at least 20 students at easy access.
The reading comprehension test will take approximately 10 minutes, however the students have no time limit. We will monitor and record their time as well as their score to see if there is a correlation with how fast they can accomplish the test and the accuracy of their answers. The test is in the form of multiple choice, therefore they are completely objective. We will grade them without bias.

In recording our data, we will use a data table that is modeled in the following format:
Student Name Sex Genre Time Score

We have provided below a brief research timeline for the project:
Sep. 25- Music Selection and research
Sep. 25- Compile ACT Sample Tests and selection of test material
Oct. 3-Format the Data Sheet
Oct..6- Lab Proposal Finished
Oct. 15-Testing our own friends and peers
Nov. 8- In-Class Testing
Nov. 22-Each group member have 10 students tested
Dec. 1-Have all 90 students tested
Dec. 5-Make conclusions on results
Dec. 7-Lab Reports Due

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