Students have the ability to play music while they are studying. Studies have shown mixed results when it comes to listening to music while studying. This present study examines the differences in music listening habits while studying of students with low and high GPAs. Students with low GPAs did not listen to music more than students with high GPAs while studying. However, when listening to music while reading was examined, there was a difference between low and high GPA students. Students with low GPAs listened to music more while reading for school than students with high GPAs. Moreover, there was no difference in the music listening habits of students with low and high GPAs when memorizing for tests.
How does playing music while studying relate to college students' GPA?
The past century has been deemed the "Information Age" because individuals are able to access and transfer information freely, which was once difficult or impossible to do so. Information can include pictures, videos, psychology research articles, and music. Therefore music has become widely accessible to all people in modern western society. With the invention of mp3 formatting of songs and high-speed Internet access, people can download music for free directly to their computers in an instant. Recorded music can be played at the touch of a button on a car radio, portable mp3 player, or home stereo. Music has become a part of everyday life; some sort of background music or noise is always present. People listen to music while performing a wide range of activities, which vary in the amount of focus and attention span needed.
Born of the computer and digital age, most young people are naturally skilled at using new technology such as computers, iPads, and televisions. College students, especially, spend a lot of time on the computer doing schoolwork and other non-school related activities. It has been found that most college students have downloaded over 2,000 mp3 songs in their lifetime (Hinduja & Higgins, 2011). The degree to which music is played while studying depends on the type of studying that the student is doing (Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010). Kotsopoulou and Hallam found that high school and college students played music in the background most often when thinking is followed by writing and least often when learning a foreign language or memorizing texts.
Many studies show that listening to music while studying has beneficial effects on academic task performances including reading comprehension and memory. Mitchell (1949; cited in Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010) tested sixth graders in a pubic elementary school on a reading comprehension test. The experimental condition had music playing in the background and the control condition had no music playing. The results show that performance on the reading comprehension test was not negatively affected when music was playing. In fact, Hall (1952; cited in Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2010) found that reading comprehension performance improved significantly for eighth and ninth graders when there was background music. Music has also been shown to have a positive effect on memory task performance. Marlens, Jungers, and Steele (2011) studied verbal memory in individuals with learning disabilities and individuals without any learning disabilities. Music was found to improve verbal memory in both groups of individuals. Playing background music has also been found to increase the speed of spatial processing and the accuracy of linguistic processing (Angel, Polzella, & Elvers, 2010). Reading comprehension, memory, spatial processing, and lingusitic processing are skills that must be mastered for success in school.
Studies on the effects of listening to music while studying has shown mixed results on academia. Although much research has proven the benefits of playing music while studying, just as much research has been done to show the adverse effects of...