The Effect of Music on an Individual’s Ability to Critically Concentrate
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In my experience, it is not an uncommon conversation between students and concerned parents on whether having music playing during homework time is productive. To find the solution to this never-ending conversation, we decided to investigate the effect of music on an individual's ability to critically concentrate. Previous research on this topic has been conclusive on one thing; music affects concentration. How it affects concentration appears to be conflicting. Some research has shown that individuals perform better with no music playing, (e.g.; Huang & Shih, 2011), while other studies have suggested that while some types of music may hinder performance, others may not affect it or may improve performance (e.g.; Dolegui, 2013; Hallam & Godwin, 2015; Thompson, 2015). For our study, 40 participants provided us with basic demographic information and took 2 mathematical quizzes; one with music of the subject's choice playing and one without, counterbalancing the order of the condition. The time it took to complete each was recorded, as well as the scores of the quizzes. We hypothesized that the majority of the participants would perform better with no music playing. We discovered that about half of the participants performed significantly better with and about half of them performed significantly better without music playing. To further this study, it would be interesting to look at whether the individuals typically listen to music while studying.