The purpose of this study was to find whether popular music would have a positive or negative effect on memory tasks. There are many different perspectives on how background music and noise affects performance. The current body of research reports mixed results with some studies reporting positive effects and some reporting negative effects of music on performance.
Numerous studies have been conducted to test the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect is a term used to explain the claim that people perform better on tasks when listening to music composed by Mozart. Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) indicated that subjects' performance on spatial tasks was better while listening to music compared to the silence condition. Due to this study, many people questioned whether listening to music increases intellectual ability. Other researchers stated that it is possible that the Mozart effect has very little to do with music. They postulated that enhanced performance is due to arousal or mood (Thompson, Schellenberg, & Husain, 2001). Those researchers proposed that musical stimuli that may be enjoyable to that individual might produce a small improvement in performance on a variety of tasks.
Many studies have emerged from the concept of the Mozart effect. The results of these studies have been mixed. Ransdell & Gilroy (2001) indicated that background music significantly disrupted writing fluency while using a computer. The participants in that study showed signs of slower writing and a decreased writing quality when their writing was accompanied by background music.
An earlier study found that when students frequently studied to music, a specific type of music was less likely to impair their performance on reading comprehension tests (Etaugh & Micheals, 1975). Hillard and Tolin (1975) indicated that if the background music was familiar to the subject, they performed better on the given task than when unfamiliar music was... [continues]
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