Does music help us work better? It depends
There are two possible ways music might be beneficial while working:
Some famous composers' work has better cognitive benefits than others. Studies show that Mozart's sonata increased "alpha band" brain waves, which is linked to memory, cognition, and problem-solving.
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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 that the output at a factory increased by 12,5-15%.
Since then, music has started to play an important role in productivity.
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, you'll desire more upbeat music.
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 a large retail organization were allowed to listen to personal stereos for one month, regardless of their choice of music, their performance improved significantly. The reason for improvements in productivity was how relaxed they felt.
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 are working harder in turn.
In some contexts, music is actively detrimental, such as problem-solving, while listening to more cognitively demanding music, like jazz. One study found students performed worse in reading-comprehension and maths scores when they did them to music.
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 in sports.
Music might be beneficial in the workplace, depending on the type of work, the genre of music, your control over the music, and your personality.
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Music is processed in different ways:
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.
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.
Our brains respond differently to happy or sad music.
One study revealed that participants interpreted a neutral expression as happy or sad to match the tone of the music they heard.
A moderate noise level is ideal to improve our creativity. It increases the processing difficulty which stimulates abstract processing, leading to higher creativity.
High noise levels impair our creative thinking because we feel overwhelmed and struggle to process information properly.
Different genres correspond to our personality. For instance:
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Although there may be detrimental effects of listening to music while working, listening to music in between tasks can boost your mental performance and the ability to concentrate on a task ...
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.
Music can make repetitive tasks more pleasurable and increase your concentration on the task.
For example, one study discovered that music could improve the performance of surgeons who take on repetitive nonsurgical laboratory tasks.
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