Can Preference for Background Music Mediate the Irrelevant Sound Effect?

6367 Words26 Pages
Applied Cognitive Psychology, Appl. Cognit. Psychol. 25: 625–631 (2011)
Published online 21 July 2010 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/acp.1731

Can Preference for Background Music Mediate the Irrelevant Sound Effect?
NICK PERHAM* and JOANNE VIZARD
School of Psychology, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK
Summary: Research suggests that listening to background music prior to task performance increases cognitive processes, such as attention and memory, through the mechanism of increasing arousal and positive mood. However, music preference has not been explored with regard to a more common and realistic scenario of concurrent music and cognition, namely the ‘irrelevant sound effect’
…show more content…
Early research into the impact of music on performance suggested that it was actually beneficial to production or simple repetitive tasks (Uhbrock, 1961). Later research in the early 1990s claimed that listening to music (Mozart) prior to task performance increased spatial abilities when compared to either sitting in silence or listening to relaxation instructions
(Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1993). Dubbed the ‘Mozart effect’, it was widely reported by the media and subsequently led to a number of policy changes (see Schellenberg, 2005). However, attempts to replicate the effect failed and a meta-analysis led to the speculation that the Mozart effect was actually attributable to an increase in arousal (Chablis et al., 1999).
Since this time, a series of studies reveal that listening to
Mozart was in itself not alone in increasing performance. A
‘Schubert effect’ was also observed for those participants who preferred listening to his music and similarly those participants who preferred a narrated Stephen King story demonstrated a ‘Stephen King effect’ (Nantais & Schellenberg, 1999). Furthermore, when comparing the music of
Mozart with more contemporary music using children, a ‘Blur effect’ was observed again suggesting an effect of preference
(Schellenberg & Hallam, 2005).
The arousal and mood hypothesis proposes that listening to a liked piece of

More about Can Preference for Background Music Mediate the Irrelevant Sound Effect?

Get Access