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Certain regions in our brain—which evoke strong emotions and improve concentration—are more active when we listen to familiar rather than unfamiliar music.
Plus, when we listen to unfamiliar music we’re more likely to lose focus, while adjusting to the new sound.
Studies show that music with lyrics reduces our mental performance at work, with performance being reduced with increased speech intelligibility - the more voices we can hear while working, including lyrics, the lower our productivity.
Meanwhile, instrumental music could boost our productivity.
....depends on a few factors:
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When a task is clearly defined and repetitive in nature, music makes it more enjoyable.
It isn’t the music itself, but rather the improved mood your favorite music brings that will give a boost in productivity.
Moderate noise level can get creative juices flowing, but the line is easily crossed; loud noises made it incredibly difficult to concentrate.
Bellowing basses and screeching synths will do you more harm than good when engaging in deep work.
It’s best to listen to music you are familiar with if you need intense focus for a project.
New music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next.
For activities that don’t require concentration, music with lyrics has some benefits. But with immersive tasks, lyrics are especially destructive to our focus.
Trying to engage in language-related tasks ( e.g. writing ) while listening to lyrics would be akin to holding a conversation while another person talks over you… while also strumming a guitar.
Music has a real impact on human emotions and perception. Music activates different areas of the brain in different people, but there are general brain and mood patterns revealed by music research.
For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness in terms of work-related tasks.