Effect of Background Music on Concentration Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :


There have been a number of recent studies investigating the effect of background music on concentration. These studies have focused on both attention and on workplace concentration. A Stanford study identifies that background music assists in stimulating attention (Baker, 2007). A study that examined the effects of music with lyrics and music without found that the latter is more effective for workplace concentration, as lyrics are more distracting and can have a negative impact on worker performance (Shih, Huang & Chiang, 2012). Another study showed that the workers' fondness for the music was a key variable -- the type of music did not matter as long as the people liked it (Huang & Shih, 2011).

Some studies have taken an ethnographic bent, with scholars investigating effects within their specific culture. This paper will further this research, investigating what differences there are, if any, in the response to background music and attention across different cultures. In a study of Taiwanese students, it was found that there is attention drainage. The authors indicated that "music with higher intensity is more distracting," but tested hip hop, where the abundance of lyrics might be the cause for the distraction, rather than the intensity of the music itself (Tze & Chou, 2010).

Need for Research

The research on this subject is relatively thin. Only a few studies have been conducted, basically just enough to introduce some of the key issues, such as type of activity and type of music. Given how many students listen to music while studying, and how many workplaces have music playing in the background, it would be valuable to learn more about this subject. Corporate entities in particular spend a lot of money seeking to improve productivity, yet often do not even consider what the influence of music or other background sounds might be on the productivity of their workers. Since the existing body of knowledge is thin, there is a need for more studies to help both scholars and managers -- and students -- learn more about the cognitive effects of music on attention and concentration.


The research will be a survey of attitudes found in students with respect to music and study. Questions will examine such issues as whether they prefer music when studying or not, if they feel that it helps or hinders concentration, and if those attitudes change with respect to the type of music. One of the methodologies with respect to sampling is that students from different cultures will be included in the study, to see if there are differences between students from different national and ethnic backgrounds. Underlying the…

Sources Used in Document:


Baker, Mitzi. (2007). " Music moves brain to pay attention, Stanford study finds." Stanford Medicine. Accessed April 7, 2016 from https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2007/07/music-moves-brain-to-pay-attention-stanford-study-finds.html

Huang, Rong. & Shih, Yi. "Effects of background music on concentration of workers." Work. Vol. 38 (2011) 383-387

Shih, Yi, Huang, Rong. & Chiang, HY. " Background music: Effects on attention performance. " Work. Vol. 42, 4 (2012) 573-578.

Tze, Peter. & Chou, Ming.. "Attention drainage effect: How background music effects (sic) concentration in Taiwanese college students." Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Vol. 10, 1 (2010) 36-46.

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