How music therapy helped a woman heal Scientists are still trying to figure out what's going on in our brains when we listen to music and how it produces such potent effects on the psyche. Three studies published this month explore how the brain responds to music. The quest to dissect exactly what chemical processes occur when we put our headphones on is far from over, but scientists have come across some clues.
Getty Images Music has a way of permeating through Listening to music corners and filling up environments with substance. It can help you relaxmake you well up in tears, or feel alive. But can it make you more productive? We use music to set the tone of our environment and our mood, whether we're unwinding after work or throwing a party.
But in an age when many of us spend our time staring at a computer screen, music has also become a mode of escape from outside distractions or dull tasks. So how useful is music when it comes to focusing on your work? Let's take a look. What research says about music and productivity.
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, does research on the effect of music listening on work performance. Lesiuk's researchthose who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and had better ideas overall than those who didn't.
But there are some types of music that worsen productivity. Several studies have shown that popular music interferes with reading comprehension and information processing.
Based on these studies then, music can have a positive effect in your work, but its effect on productivity depends on the situation and type of music. So, what type of music works? Similarly, listening to music with lyrics is almost as distracting.
It turns out I'm not alone. Music can be considered a form of multitasking, in which the listener is switching back and forth between a task and the music, as opposed to the music simply playing a background role.
Once again, this depends on the type of music and the listener's habits. Haake does research on music listening at work, and she identified five factors that could determine whether music is distracting or helpful: Songs with a more complex musical structure, such as Frank Zappa's "Muffin Man" can be more distracting to listeners when compared to songs with a simple three-chord structure, such as John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane".
Lyrics can distract, as they cause you to focus on the message of the song and interrupt your train of thought. If someone is used to listening to music while working, it's often more beneficial than distracting. The reverse is true as well. If a task requires more thought and focus, music can make it more difficult to work efficiently.
When music is imposed upon someone, it's usually more distracting than if the person has a choice in the matter. While it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario, there are certain types of music that are better to listen to as you type away on your computer.
So if you're listening to music while working, see if it suits the five criteria above and adjust until you find what works best. Sep 19, Like this column?
Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.“Silence can be better than random listening,” says Joanne Loewy, an associate professor and director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York.
A better bet, according to Levitin? Listen to music for 10 to 15 minutes before you start working.. He explained that listening to tunes you enjoy can put you in a better mood and relax you. ### Abstract.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how listening to music while running affects performance and perceived exertion of college students. Listening to music, whether it be on your portable MP3 player, car stereo, or home entertainment center, gives people a way to relax and enjoy the beat of a good song.
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