Don't listen to music while studying!

I am fond of places where I can sit and work without any hustle and bustle, places such as a nearby coffee shop or my Uni's library. In this world, where everyone's in a hurry but never on time. I prefer to sit and relax for a while. Whether it be for some work or just to have some me time, and I have to admit, I learned this in a hard way but in due time.

During some of my routine visits before this pandemic, I've seen people listening to some sort of music while they study or work. Intrigued by this I decided to ask some of them whether listening to music helps or it's for a completely different reason.

One girl told me that, and I quote " Music can take her away from this world, she can sit with her work for multiple hours, losing the track of time." Another person told me about a then-new topic to me of a monkey brain and how, without a particular source of attraction, our brain is very prone to distraction, and their music plays the main role of keeping our minds bounded to the beats of the music so that it does not wander away in the sea of countless thoughts.

I decided to have my observation about the same and found that even my brain wanders around if it is not kept in check, and listening to music helps in that. Although, I do not suggest listening to music while doing any kind of work I have to admit, if it works for me then I have to keep it with me.


Anything cannot be stated as a fact if it does not have a bunch of recorded experiments and observations behind it and which do not contradict the same in any change of environment possible. So, I did my research and found some contradicting results.

Perham's 2010 study, "Can preference for background music mediate the irrelevant sound effect? " Shows that the truth is far from my recorded observations. It states that listening to some sort of music can interfere with short-term memory performance.

Perham tells in a recorded observation about the "irrelevant sound effect." This involves a subject conducting a certain task, in this case recalling a series of numbers, while listening to different kinds of background music. If sound exhibits acoustical variations, or what Perham calls an "acute changing-state, "performance is impaired. Steady-state sounds with little acoustical variations don't impair performance nearly as much.

He also concludes, "We found that listening to liked or disliked music was the same, and both worse than the quiet control condition, " he says. "Both impaired performance on serial-recall tasks. "

This means, listening to music while doing any sort of work can hamper your day to day ability to recall phone numbers, doing mental arithmetic, and even learn languages. Perham also asked his subjects how they think they performed while listening to a disliked music and all stated a decreased performance although the results showed no difference.


In one early experiment, some selected subjects were asked to listen to the famous classical composer Mozart, specifically "Sonata for Piano duet in D, K.19d and more. " All the subjects showed enhanced spatial-rotation skills. When they stopped listening and were asked to cut and fold paper, they performed better than when listening to something else.

But again, Perham's subsequent studies suggested that this wasn't correct.

Instead, the performance had more to do with the preference of sound one listened to before engaging in one such activity. It had nothing to do with classical music or Mozart, it was to do with whether you liked something or not. Also, listening to music with spoken lyrics impairs comprehension.


After conducting this small research here and there, I decided to write this blog in complete silence but failed due to constant traffic near my house. In the next attempts, I tried listening to music and I finished writing this in half the time I usually take to write something like this. Nowadays, I'm listening to "Meditation Music 2020 by 11131059013 " on Spotify Music App.

Although, I am not confident about how and where my observations fit with Perham's observations or the Mozart Effect Experiment. I can personally state that listening to meditation music or Tibetan Bowls chimes, helps me a lot to tap into the flow state quicker and to carry it for a longer duration of time. Also at the same time, listening to any other form of music acts as a hindrance and keeps me distracted from the work in front of me.

I hope this can help people connect with this topic in any smallest way possible or provided some sort of help. Feel free to reach to me about your thoughts on this, I'd love to have a conversation. Thanks!

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