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How listening to music "significantly hampers creativity"

Researchers believe that music promotes creativity has been questioned by the opposite effect.

Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Gävle in Sweden and Lancaster University have studied the impact of background music on performance by presenting to people Verbal comprehension problems that are supposed to appeal to creativity.

They discovered that background music "significantly impeded" people's ability to perform verbal creativity testing tasks – but this had no effect on the background noise of the library.

For example, a participant was given three words (for example, dress, dial, flower), the obligation being to find a single associated word (in this case, "sun") that could be combined to form a word or expression common (ie, sun dress, sundial and sunflower).

The researchers used three experiments involving verbal tasks in a quiet environment or exposed to:

  • Background music with foreign words (unknown)
  • Instrumental music without words
  • Music with familiar lyrics

Dr. Neil McLatchie of Lancaster University said: "We found strong evidence of impaired performance when we played background music compared to silent background conditions."

The researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that music disrupts verbal working memory.

The third experience – exposure to music with familiar words – distorts creativity, whether the music improves mood or not, arouses a positive mood, is appreciated by participants or that they generally study in the presence of music.

However, there was no significant difference in the performance of verbal tasks between the silence and noise conditions of the library.

The researchers say that's because the sound of the library is a "stable" environment that does not disturb as much.

"In conclusion, the findings here challenge the popular view that music enhances creativity and demonstrates that music, regardless of the presence of semantic content (without words, familiar words, or unknown words), systematically disrupts performance. creative in solving intuition problems. "


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