by Krystal Mitchell
A well-debated topic amongst scholars is whether listening to music while studying is beneficial as compared to not listening to music. Research has shown a link between certain types of music that can boost concentration and memory. However, others argue that background sounds can make it more difficult to concentrate and focus. Music affects everyone in a different way. Here are the pros and cons of studying with music and tips on making the most out of your study background music.
The pros of listening to music while studying/reading:
- Enhanced brain function
- Enhanced motivation
- Increased brain stimulation (improved memory)
A Stanford study found that “music moves [the] brain to pay attention.” Engaging certain areas of the brain while listening to music allows your brain to sort the event into increments in order to make predictions and update the event memory. According to Florida National University, “Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven can help students categorize information, which is an influential asset to studying.”
Additionally, recent studies suggest that music only improves your brain performance if the music first improves your emotional state of mind.
Music has been that ingredient that can shape the energy of its listeners. Research has found that listening to music can make you a happier person. “It triggers a release of dopamine to the brain.” Dopamine plays a vital part in our abilities to think and plan. If students are in a better mood then they are more likely to be focused and motivated for a longer period of time compared to being in a neutral mood.
The disadvantages of listening to music while studying
Listening to lyrical music or loud agitated music can be less effective and alter your mood. It then becomes significantly more difficult to retain any information, defeating your whole objective. If you are easily distracted then you should most likely avoid music to ensure your attention is not altered by the background noise. Multi-taskers may find that listening to music while studying helps them better concentrate.
While listening to music can improve your mood and your motivation, it doesn’t necessarily translate to efficiency. According to an article published by Study International, “several studies show that students who listen to music while completing tasks such as reading and writing tend to be less efficient, and don’t absorb much information compared to those who don’t listen to music”(Segaren). Be sure to keep this in mind if you are deciding whether to listen to music when studying.
Listening to music while studying can be a great way to improve concentration and motivation, but it can also affect your efficiency and focus. Before you put on your headphones, make sure you know the ways you study efficiently and choose a playlist that will help rather than hurt your studying session.
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