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Studying to music significantly impairs creativity

The common belief that music enhances creativity is disproved by researchers University of Gävle and two universities in England; in fact, music has the opposite effect.

Researchers at University of Gävle and the universities of Lancashire and Lancaster have studied how people are affected by background music while solving verbal problems that demand creativity. The results show that background music significantly impairs people’s verbal creativity.

“We found that the ability so solve problem was significantly impaired if participants had background music in their headphones,” says John Marsh, researcher in environmental psychology at University of Gävle.

“Regardless if the music made the participants feel good, if they liked the music or if they regularly listened to music while studying, music impaired their creative performance.”

However, researchers could not determine any difference in performance when they compared performance in a silent environment to that in a library.

“This could be explained by the fact the background noise in a library is stable and doesn’t change, and this means that it doesn’t become very disruptive,” John Marsh says.

Scientific article

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