There and more. Music listening is one

March 8, 2019 Music

There are a lot of studies about the effect of music to memory. Music was defined as a form of entertainment that lessens boredom and it may increase productivity of a person. There’s music in almost everywhere, for example in parties, events, shows, and more. Music listening is one of the most enigmatic of human behaviors. Most common behaviors have a recognizable utility that can be plausibly traced to the practical motives of survival and procreation. Moreover, in the array of seemingly odd behaviors, few behaviors match music for commandeering so much time, energy, and money. Music listening is one of the most popular leisure activities. Music is a ubiquitous companion to people’s everyday lives. (Schäfer, T., Sedlmeier, P., Städtler, C., & Huron, D. (2013)). Listening to music is a common pastime amongst many people more so of students and younger people who listen to music while studying.
Music is very popular these days, especially among college students. Roy (2009, p. 505) stated that it’s unusual for students not to be around music; she explains that this is true because of the increased availability of portable music devices and free music on the internet. Mobile phones, MP3 players, Smart phones and any gadget that plays music instantly is readily available in this generation. People have easy access to music; they can listen to it anytime and anywhere, especially students. Music has now become a part of people’s everyday lives, that’s why some students tend to listen to music even while studying. Anderson and Fuller, 2010), found that about 70% of students listen to music while studying. The types of sound or beat they prefer even vary. Some have a taste for Acoustic, Jazz, Pop, Rap, Blues or even Folk songs. Well, it really depends on a lot of factors like culture, environment, etc. But is listening to music while studying conducive for learning? If so, what genre might best suit students?
Many different genres of music have been studied as to their effects on different variables. Classical music has been found to have a range of effects from increasing purchases (Areni ; Kim, 1993) to affecting memory and cognition (Hallam, Price ; Katsarou, 2002). For example, Rausher, Shaw and Ky (1993) found that listening to classical music improved intelligence and memory (the “Mozart Effect”) but others have been unsuccessful in replicating these findings (Pietschnig, Foracek ; Formann, 2010; Steele, Bass ; Crook, 1999; McKelvie ; Low, 2002).
Classical music is generally viewed as the best to listen to whilst studying, however there is no decisive research to back this. What has been proven is that listening to music which is constant in state, has a steady a repetitive pulse, and is not too loud is better for concentration than inconsistent musical styles, meaning you should probably avoid listening to anything labelled ‘Mathcore’ when trying to be productive. The same study also found evidence that people perform worse when listening to their preferred, rather than neutral, music (Baker, 2016). In Mjoen’s (2011) study, listening to classical music that was unfamiliar increased the number of words recalled. It was compared with popular radio music (PRM) and popular radio music played classically (PRMPC). The significant difference of unfamiliar radio music played classically (URMPC) from the other two suggests that listening to unfamiliar classical music is preferable for people who like listening to music while studying. However, this study is not generalizable for people who don’t listen to music while studying because there’s no control group that wasn’t immersed in music while studying.
In line with this, Mammarella et al. stated that listening to classical music significantly increased working memory compared with no music condition or with white noise. This study shows that classical music enhances cognitive performance in healthy older adults. According to the researchers, this is due to the arousal and mood effect produced by music. Moreover, this increase in arousal results to a greater level of attention which can make the learner process more material than without the presence of music. The reason why some types of music are better than others in fostering memory retention is due to rhythm, note sequence or easy acquisition of the melody. Hence, for music to be effective in aiding recall, it must be easily acquired and must not subtract relevant amounts of resources from working memory (Mammarella, Fairfield ; Cornoldi, 2007).
A British radio station, called Classic FM, specializes in western classical music whose programming is designed for relaxation (Dibben ; Williamson, 2007) and relaxation has shown to be beneficial for the brain to work more efficiently (Blanchard, 1979). If the brain works more efficiently, better memory may be a result.
On the other hand, a research study that aims to know if music has an effect, negatively or positively to recall ability made used of another variable to compare: words and digits. The recall of these were tested in three conditions; silent, vocal/pop and instrumental. This research showed that music has a detrimental effect on recalling words than digits. In the silent condition, there was no significant difference between the number of recalled words and digits. There was also no significant difference with the recall ability of men and women (Jameson, 2013)
A section in Maglione (2006) article, classical music affects the brain’s organization and abilities, through its melody and rhythm. The rhythm raises the level of serotonin produced in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, involved in the transmission of nerve impulses that helps maintaining joyous feelings. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased. In fact depression is a consequence of the scarce production of this hormone. Serotonin is released when the brain is “positively shocked”. For instance: if we look at a splendid painting, smell a delicious scent, feel an extraordinary sensation, eat something delicious or listen to some charming music, then the brain lets off a certain amount of serotonin which arouses and maximizes pleasant feelings. Music’s rhythm can also stimulate other natural cadencies of the body, resembling the heartbeat, or the Alfa-rhythm of the brain, and this effect is used to counter the development of clinical depression. The melody instead, is the “sparkle” that catalyses the creative process in our minds. The known effects of music on the brain are varied: music affects from humans’ and animals’ brains to plants’ development. In humans, music enhances spatial IQ, by increasing the short and long – term memory. In fact, musical trained musicians perform better on word memory tests than other adults. Children benefit from classical music’s virtues even more than adults; they experience advantages in cognitive skills. Animals and plants as well have proven a certain predisposition towards classical music. Just listening to this musical style enhances the brain’s ability; playing it, results even in a major brain development. The commonly known “Mozart effect” is a phenomena that suggests the improvement on the performance of spatio-temporal reasoning and short- term memory through the listening of complex music, such as Mozart’s two-piano concertos. Music, especially the one from the “baroque” period with 60 beats per minute beat pattern, affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, measurable through and electro – encephalogram. Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin, as result of the influence on the Hormone system. This brings the pupils to dilate, and an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This allows the brain to concentrate more easily, and to assimilate more information in less time. This happens because music stimulates the left and right hemispheres of the brain at same moment. The contemporaneous activation of the two lobes boosts learning and information intake, therefore augmenting cognitive skills. It has been proven that learning may be increased to at least fivefold, through the using of this musical style. It is for this reason that story tellers in the middle ages sang out their tails; in order to remember the narrations consisting of more than a thousand of lines. Greek dramatists based their selves on the same principle to memorize long soliloquies.
Another genre that affects mind, In Ott’s (2013) study, rock music can either hinder or enhance a student’s mental performance, especially in the area of academic study. A variety of research shows it depends on the context. In the concentration and Studying for school, According to a study by Imperial College London, male participants who listened to rock music while performing various tasks had more difficulty staying concentrated. A University of Toronto study confirmed this for teenagers of any gender: listening to fast, loud music hinders the teenager’s ability to study, especially in reading comprehension. While in Creativity, rock music might not help some students while they’re studying, other research from the University of Toronto shows when a young person listens to their favorite rock music before studying followed by studying in silence, it not only increases the brain’s performance, but it also enhances creativity.


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