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How listening to music "significantly hampers creativity"



How listening to music "significantly hampers creativity"

A student listening to music Credit: Lancaster University

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 tasks that test verbal creativity – 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

Neil McLatchie, of Lancaster University, said: "We found strong evidence of performance impairment when we played background music versus silent background conditions."




Researchers believe that music promotes creativity has been challenged. Psychologists have studied the impact of background music on performance by presenting people with verbal comprehension problems that are supposed to appeal to creativity. They discovered that background music "significantly hampers" people's ability to perform tasks that test verbal creativity – but this had no effect on the background noise of the library. Credit: Lancaster University

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 regardless of whether the music also improves mood, arouses a positive mood, is appreciated by participants or that participants generally study in 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. "


Aging is described as primarily negative in popular music lyrics


More information:
Emma Threadgold et al, Background Music Combines Creativity: Proofs of Compound Remote Duties, Applied cognitive psychology (2019). DOI: 10.1002 / acp.3532

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Lancaster University

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How listening to music "significantly hampers creativity" (February 27, 2019)
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