Living and developing in a dynamic world full of various sounds and noises, many of us, trying to focus on important things, resort to different ways. Representatives of those professions where people should do repetitive and monotonous actions (programmers, marketers, writers, students also enter here) say that it is difficult for them to concentrate on work “when someone tapping on the table or mumbles favorite song”. For many young professionals and students, often the only way to be alone with own thoughts and focus on a specific type of work is to listen to your favorite music using an mp3 player or various gadgets.
The influence of music on productivity is one of those themes that has long been concerned and still haunts modern scientists. The influence of music on the brain and emotions began to be explored in the 1950s, when doctors in Europe and the USA began to pay attention to the benefits of music therapy. Modern researchers argue that music helps with such conditions as stress, anxiety and depression. Research results suggest that the influence of music on our emotions is a fact. But how does music affect the brain? And can headphones with favorite music really help to cope with concentration?
Some people tend to believe that the fact that music helps to concentrate on work is just a stereotype that appeared a long time ago, and many of us perceive it as an indisputable truth. Its roots reach the 90s, when the press widely disseminated information about the so-called “Mozart effect.” Its meaning lies in the fact that the performance of the brain increases significantly when listening to Mozart’s music in comparison with various relaxing practices or the complete absence of sounds.
However, as it turned out as a result of research, 2 systems are responsible for attention in the human brain: conscious – when we concentrate on selected tasks, and the unconscious, which draws attention to what our senses picked up from the environment (for example, a sharp sound, bright thing). According to research, none of the systems control attention completely or in isolation from the other.
“When we try to delve into the text, the puzzle, the letter, the subconscious system does not fall silent and continue to explore the world around us,” says Bill O’Toole, a specialist from the Pro-Papers team, who studies the effect of music on the brain. According to him, the less we want to deal with the task, the easier it is to distract us, because part of our attention is already wandering. “And here a student or a worker comes to the aid of a simple tool that can pacify the unconscious part of attention — it’s music or white noise,” says Bill. Now scientists agree that music helps to cope with work that requires concentration, but does not require deep thought. It suppresses extraneous thoughts and helps not to be distracted.
Given all the useful properties of listening to music, there are also some nuances. So, nevertheless, scientists believe that it is possible to achieve the maximum positive effect for concentration only by abiding by the certain rules.
Volume of sound
In 2012, researchers at Oxford University conducted an experiment in an attempt to find out which volume level is most conducive to productivity. Scientists included ambient music at different volumes: low (50 dB), moderate (70 dB) and high (85 dB). Five independent experiments showed that moderate volume of sound affects productivity, better than the lower one. A high noise level, on the contrary, prevents a person from perceiving incoming information and processing it. According to scientists, moderate volume of sound gives the most optimal effect: such music helps to process information better and improves abstract thinking. Two of these factors help to cope with the solution of creative problems.
Scientists have found that human speech is the most distracting factor. If a student tries to distract from extraneous noises and conversations, listening to music with intrusive text, he/she is unlikely to be able to concentrate, because scientists have proven that it’s not music, but words of songs that hamper the maximum productivity.
Preferences in music
When choosing music, it is better to give up personal preferences altogether. If you listen to your favorite music or vice versa unloved music, you will often be distracted. Listen to a neutral music for maximum concentration and productivity.
Listen to the music in a particular time
If you have to perform tasks that involve memorizing information, listen to music for 10-15 minutes before starting work. When listening, the brain will release a dose of dopamine and you will get a feeling of satisfaction, which will help you to assimilate the information much faster in complete silence.
If you have to perform monotonous or repetitive work, in this case, the music will help to agitate the body and focus on work again.
Thus, we see that listening to music in any case affects the performance of our brain, its properties, the ability to concentrate on certain tasks. Whether the effect will be positive or negative, depends only on the importance and complexity of the task and compliance with the rules of listening to music. Having listened to the advice of our specialists, you can easily concentrate at the right moment on fulfilling the task and increase your efficiency.