My parents used to always say “Switch off that music and do your homework!!” In those days it was believed that listening to music while studying was distracting.
Let’s not forget that, in those days, I was forced into eating tons of spinach in the misinformed belief that it contained an incredible amount of Iron. Today we all knows that it isn’t quite as potent as we thought. A scientist had made a mistake in which the decimal point somehow ended up in the wrong place, making spinach appear to contain 10 times more iron than it actually did!
We are all aware that music can improve our mood and generate positive feelings. There are also studies showing that music can significantly boost productivity. Now it seems to be considered a good thing to listen to music while studying. In fact, there is research to show that we actually study better while listening to music. Apparently, music blocks out background noise and replaces unpredictable distractions with predictable and rhythmic sounds, thereby significantly improving the ability to remain focused.
Retain More Information
Research confirms that music can also help us to concentrate and perform for longer periods of time. This is particularly true for tasks that involve us being creative. Music can be used specifically to initiate internal processing and facilitate inventiveness. The tempo and rhythmic patterns of music help to maintain attention. Music can also help us to stay alert when we’re feeling drowsy. More importantly, studying while listening to the right music can help us to retain more information – turning it into a sort of auditory memory booster!
One study found that students who attended a lecture where music was playing quietly in the background, scored significantly higher than students who attended the same lecture without music. And it’s not just music: recent studies have shown that listening to special recordings containing Brainwave Entrainment techniques, such as Binaural Beats, or Brain Hemisphere Stimulation can significantly increase IQ and improve academic test scores!
Work Better in Coffee Shops.
People that sit in Coffee shops to work have reported that it makes them feel more focused, effective and creative. Although many like the atmosphere, it seems that the sound in coffee shops is conducive to concentration and productivity. This is probably because the sound provides the ideal level of distraction. Science suggests that the extra effort used needed to work against the distractions can actually enhance concentration and retention levels. In one study, 300 participants were exposed to an ambient background noise of around 70 decibels, which is about the level of a medium-to-busy coffee shop. They were then asked questions using objective word-association. Their scores were significantly higher with background sounds than when the test was conducted in silence.
So there we have it: the state of mind that is achieved by listening to sound and music can help us to study better, learn more, concentrate for longer, and retain more information. So put on those head-phones and get to work! (…with a nice cup of coffee or lovely plate of spinach!)
SonicTonic is an app with specifically designed programmes to improve focus and concentration. There is even a free series of surround-recordings of coffee shops.
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“The Effects of Various Kinds of Background Music on the I.Q. Scores of Ninth-Grade Students”