Science Behind Music

The Science Behind Music That Can Increase Your Productivity

Want to be more productive? Learn about the new science behind music!

Distractions at work constantly compete for our attention and can distract us from our tasks at hand, ultimately disrupting our overall productivity.

So what’s one to do? Recently, scientists and researchers around the world have found that the type of music you listen to while you work can have a huge affect on your productivity. Here’s the science behind music and how it can make or break your productivity.

Studies from  the University of Birmingham, England, found that music is effective in raising efficiency in repetitive work. So for example, if you are mindlessly entering data into a spreadsheet add some music to make your task go by that much faster.

When it comes to tasks that require more concentration and focus, finding that perfect playlist is not as easy. But, here are some interesting facts and suggestions that can help you during those times.

Sounds of Nature

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that adding a natural element could boost your overall mood and focus. Sounds of nature can mask intelligible speech just as well as white noise. It can also enhance cognitive functioning, optimizing the ability to concentrate and lift your spirits. Researchers used a mountain stream sound in their study and discovered that it possessed enough randomness that it didn’t distract test subjects.

Songs That Make You Feel Good

Listening to music you like can make you feel better. Assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, Teresa Lesiuk found that personal choice in music is important. Participants of the study who listened to music they enjoyed completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t.

“When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” Lesiuk told the New York Times. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

Songs You Like or Dislike

Researchers from Fu Jen Catholic University in Xinzhuang City, Taiwan, studied how a listener’s fondness for music affected their concentration levels. They concluded that background music influenced the listener’s attention. This influence has more to do with their fondness for the music than with type of music. Compared to situations without background music, the likelihood of background music affecting workers attention performance is likely to increase with the degree to which they like or dislike the music.

Songs Without Lyrics

Research from Cambridge Sound Management, found that music with lyrics forces us to shift focus from our work to figuring out what someone is saying. Speech distracts about 48% of office workers according to Cambridge’s 2008 study.

Songs With a Specific Tempo

Music tempo can have varying affects on your arousal. Canadian researchers found subjects performed better on IQ tests while listening to up-tempo music. If your work requires you to be more upbeat, try listening to music that matches this tempo. Baroque music, for example, is a popular choice for many needing to get work done.

In fact, in a small study by researchers at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, the radiologists they studied reported an improvement in their work and mood when they listened to baroque music.

Another study by researchers from BMS College of Engineering in Bangalore, Malaysia, reported that their subjects showed a dramatic reduction in feelings of stress and an increased sense of physical relaxation when they listened to music that played around 60 beats per minute.

Songs Played at Medium Volume Increase Creativity

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, found that moderate to medium noise levels are ideal for creative thinking. While both high and moderate noise levels have been found to open people’s minds to more abstract thinking, high noise levels decrease the brain’s ability to process information. So try listening to your music at a moderate volume level and see if it makes a difference for you.

Music and the Masses

Though these studios are based around worker’s productivity, we must also consider how music affects our customers. If you are playing background music in your waiting room, your retail shop or restaurant take these scientific findings into consideration as well. How do you want your customers to feel? Energized, excited, or relaxed? Studies also prove that music affects consumer buying behavior and perception. So make sure your music is fitting for your brand, culture and environment.

If you are looking for more information about music and audio branding, or custom music for your marketing Vast Marketing Solutions can help.