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Does music help us work better? It depends

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https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200317-does-music-help-us-work-it-depends

bbc.com

Does music help us work better? It depends
The debate over whether we should be allowed to rock out at our desks has been raging for decades. Now science is providing some answers – and they’re not what you think.

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Music and productivity

Music and productivity

During World War II, the BBC broadcasted upbeat music in factories twice a day to see if it might step up the pace of work and get the military what they needed. It worked. One report stated th...

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Music and motivation

Playing the right music in the office motivates staff.

When you're concentrating, you'll want calmer, more relaxing music. At the end of the day, when you're feeling tired, ...

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The benefits of music

The benefits of music

There are two possible ways music might be beneficial while working:

  • It makes us feel good, therefore helping us to work through otherwise tedious tasks.
  • It makes us smarte...

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Altering our mood

The "activation theory" is the idea is that people need a certain amount of mental arousal to function effectively.

One 1995 study found that when workers at ...

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Skewed perception

Some scientists think that music doesn't help us at all. It's possible that we view the ability to listen to music as a privilege from our employers, and convincing ourselves that we ar...

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Keeping the context in mind

One meta-analysis concluded that background music disturbs the reading process and has a small harmful effect on memory, but has a positive impact on emotional reactions and improves achievements i...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Music and work

With so much of our time being spent at work, and so much of our work being done at computers, music has become inseparable from our day-to-day tasks — a way to “optimize the boring” while looking at ...

Music and repetitive tasks

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.

Ambient noise

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.

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How the brain processes music

Music is processed in different ways:

  • one part of our brain decodes pitch and tempo
  • other parts tap into memory and emotion
  • if you are playing an instrument, the body is ...

Music, dementia, and rehabilitation

Some studies show that music can help improve movement in patients who have Parkinson’s disease, or people who have lost mobility or battle with language due to a stroke.

In one study, in particular, Alzheimer’s patients seem to maintain the ability to recognize music.

Music is good for you

Listening to music engages a huge network throughout the brain because music has so many components to it. It keeps your brain fit and healthy.

Music is also very therapeutic. It can lift your mood and help you to relax.

Classical Music

Listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. 

The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to ...

“The Mozart Effect”

This theory suggests that listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being.

Nature Music

Listening to the sounds of nature (waves crashing or a babbling brook) has been shown to boost moods and focus. They also help mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing

Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds (flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises (bird calls and animal noises) can be distracting.

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