Many students in the library, HCC, and around campus can be found with headphones in while they study, but this music might not be helping these students study as effectively as they could. Chapter 4 of the textbook goes into how this is related to the irrelevant speech effect and how any speech can disrupt the encoding of information. After reading this I went to find out more, worried that I would have to start studying in silence all the time. In the article “Does Listening to music while studying make you a better student?”(Segren,2019) it discussed how listening to music that is calm and has no lyrics is better than listening to lyrical music. It’s better to ditch listening to music though according to the textbook as well as this article The reason for this is because memory recall is better when information is encoded in a similar environment to the one a student will be in when they need to recall the information, which is usually a silent classroom. Therefore here at UMW, I think the best places to study would be like the silent floor in the library, or an empty classroom, without headphones in. The next article I looked at called “ The Impact of Music in Memory” was a study that also had significant findings that not listening to music was the best way to study. Unlike the first article, this study did not find that listening to calm music had an effect on the participant’s cognitive ability compared to the group who studied in silence. This article found that type of music had more of an effect on people’s abilities in activities such as sports, but not IQ.
For those who still want to listen to music while studying and can’t fathom not listening to music, there is still hope according to the Segren article. There are some benefits to listening to music. If a student feels they need music/music with lyrics to study, it is beneficial for the student to listen to the same songs every time that they study. This is because the brain will learn that the music is unimportant and almost tune it out while the student studies because the music has become generalized.
According to the Segren article as well as the “should you listen to music while studying” (US Today, 2019), studies found when people are in a good mood, they tend to be more productive and better problem solvers. Therefore, if music helps a student get in the mood to study and feel happy it can help them study more effectively. The dopamine release from the music can help a student continue to feel energized and engaged in studying especially for longer study sessions. As mentioned above not all music is the same when it comes to studying. It’s best to stay away from angry music because it can increase cortisol levels and stress which will lead to worse performance in cognition. Unless angry music makes the student happy. For students looking for music to listen to while studying, I would recommend the music from animal crossing, Lindsay sterling, or listening to music scores from movies or plays. The mood boost that music gives a student could possibly be used to help a student prepared to get in the right mindset to take a test. People are more likely to remember information when they are in the same mood that they were in when they encoded it. This is known as memory bias. Therefore, a student could make a studying playlist that puts them in a good, positive and productive mood that they listen to while studying. They could then before going take the test they studied for listening to that playlist to get into the same mindset they were in when they studied it. Listening to music while studying can be good or bad it really depends on the person, what type of music, and how the student can use listening to music to their advantage.