Does Listening to Music Stimulate Creative Thinking, or Stifle It?

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Listening to music while you work “significantly impairs” creativity. That was the conclusion of a study published earlier this year in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology that examined the effect of different types of background music on creative problem solving.

For the study, UK researchers presented people with a series of word puzzles designed to measure creativity and “insight-based” processes. The study participants completed the puzzles either in a quiet space or in one with music playing in the background. Whether that music was familiar or unfamiliar, vocal or strictly instrumental, people’s scores on average fell on the creativity test compared to their scores in the quiet condition. “The findings challenge the view that background music enhances creativity,” the study authors wrote. Full story.

Markham Heid (Time) / July 16, 2019

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