Mar 9, 2019
It’s generally thought that background music stirs creativity. Not so says a study from several universities in the UK and Sweden just published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
A total of 84 university students and staff were presented with tests of creative ability, so-called Compound Remote Associate Tasks or CRAT for short. Subjects were exposed to instrumental music only, songs with completely unfamiliar foreign language lyrics, or hit songs with familiar lyrics. The control sounds were library background buzz and absolute quiet.
The study results showed that the familiar songs with lyrics negatively impacted creativity the most followed by instrumentals and then foreign language songs. Test performances were the same in absolute silence and in the low din of the library.
The researchers hypothesize that the changing state of sound is most responsible for reducing creativity as the music reduces the performance of verbal working memory. I personally love listening to music while writing. If you do too, we may both be blunting our creative energies. Some sacrifices are worth making, but knowledge is power.
#creativity #distraction #insight #music #quiet #healthnews
Emma Threadgold, John E. Marsh, Neil McLatchie, Linden J. Ball. Background music stints creativity: Evidence from compound remote associate tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/acp.3532