13. So You Think Music Helps You Study? It Might Depend on What You Believe

Madeleine Jirgal Butler University, Sean O'Brien Butler University, Sophia Kleyla
Faculty Sponsor(s): Amanda Hall Butler University
Previous research has shown that listening to music while studying negatively affects reading comprehension. Other studies show that students who frequently listen to music while studying may perform better while listening to music because it is what’s “normal” to them. Furthermore, there is evidence that students’ beliefs regarding the effect of music on their concentration can also impact the actual effectiveness of music while studying. The purpose of our study was to examine the impact of expectation on the effect of listening to music on reading comprehension. We randomly assigned participants to hear either a positive prompt or a negative prompt. The positive prompt described how music has a positive impact on reading comprehension, whereas the negative prompt described how music has a negative impact on reading comprehension. Participants listened to music while reading a passage. After a ten minute delay, participants were given ten reading comprehension questions. We hypothesized that students who were read a negative prompt about the impact of music on studying would perform worse on a reading comprehension test than students who were told that the music would benefit them. Answers from the participants who were primed to think that music has a positive impact on performance were compared with the answers from participants who were primed to think music has a negative impact on performance.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library Lower Level