Does Listening to Music While Doing Homework Affect Your Grade in School?July 17, 2014
Music is a powerful art form that can bring up emotions, inspire motivation and alter your mood. Students frequently listen to music while studying to make the process less painful and, in some cases, because they believe music will help them learn. The effects of listening to music while studying are mixed, however, and depend upon the type of music you listen to as well as the degree to which it distracts you.
Music With Lyrics
Music with lyrics activates the language-processing centers of the brain, and the University of Phoenix advises that this can be distracting. Particularly if you're reading or studying subjects within the humanities, the act of processing musical lyrics as you try to process the words you're studying can make studying more challenging. Students who listen to music with lyrics may have more difficulty concentrating and may struggle more to recall the information they've learned.
Robin Harwood, et al. point to the "Mozart Effect" in their textbook "Child Psychology." The "Mozart Effect" is the belief that listening to classical music can improve intelligence; it is based upon a single study that was subsequently refuted. Instrumental and classical music won't make you smarter, according to Harwood, et al. But this music can have a relaxing, soothing effect and is less distracting than music with lyrics.
A 2005 study published in "Psychology of Music" found that workers who listened to music while working had higher productivity than those who didn't. The study's authors speculate that this could be because music boosts mood, improving motivation. Particularly among students who are struggling to remain motivated to complete their work, music might provide a respite from the stress and exhaustion of studying and inspire them to keep at it.
People recall information more effectively when they're doing so in the same environment in which they initially learned it, according to the textbook "Educational Psychology." Students who listen to music while studying will be better at recalling the information they've learned if they also listen to music during tests -- an opportunity most students don't have. This might mean that listening to music can make recalling information more challenging, particularly for students who transition from listening to loud music to taking a test in a silent classroom.