This project was designed to find out the effects of listening to music while we study. This was done through traditional research, a student survey, and interviews with biology students and professors. While my original intentions involved performing a full scale memory test on a number of students to quantify the effects music has on memory retention, I decided not only that this was unrealistic with time and resource constraints, but that with all of the possible factors that go into this topic that it would, in the end, answer little.
Each area of research determined important factors in regards to the conclusions gained from this effort. The survey determined the impact research would have on how many students, and the interviews opened my mind to new factors I had not considered originally. Research found many different factors that go into how music impacts our brains while we study, such as the different roles each part of the brain play, the chemicals in our brain that are released when music is listened to, the properties of music itself, differences in types of studying and learning, and personal preference.
Overall, while it seems the brain is for more powerful than most of us realize, it is also very susceptible to outside stimuli. While it is unfortunately impossible to come up with definitive answers as to how exactly certain music will affect specific types of work, it is very much the case that music does have a profound influence on many different aspects of our brain.
When I started this project I wanted to find a single, conclusive answer to the question of whether music does or does not affect studying, and if so, why? I can say with almost certainty that music does indeed impact a student’s ability to learn. Unfortunately or not, this question as to “how?” is far more complicated than one test could ever answer. There are so many complicating factors that we have discussed, such as area of the brain a certain type of work is most impacting, the neurotransmitters is being mostly released, which emotion is occurring from a song, even the genre and volume of a student’s iPod. Many of the factors we had discussed that could help a student be more productive, such as playing a song that has pronounced beats, is relaxing, and you personally enjoy a lot, can even be very much distracting if used incorrectly. A person’s best guess as to how a song will influence their work efficiency is essentially “it depends.”
Thank you everyone who has kept up with my progress through this research effort, and I hope to be able to continue posting new information as I find it out in the future. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the information gathered here, and check out the ‘Sources’ tab for other websites and articles about similar topics.