Doing math sums while listening to your favourite songs may not be a great idea, a study warns. It might just negate all the benefits of doing your homework and actually cut down your performance in the exam.
A new study shows that listening to music that one likes whilst performing a serial recall task does not help performance any more than listening to music one does not enjoy.
It also questions whether the cognitive benefit still the same if we listen to music whilst performing a task, rather than before it.
The results of the study showed that recall ability was approximately the same, and poorest, for the music and changing-state conditions.
But it was most accurate when participants performed the task in the quieter, steady state environments.
Thus listening to music, regardless of whether people liked or disliked it, impaired their concurrent performance.
Lead researcher Nick Perham explained, "Most people listen to music at the same time as, rather than prior to performing a task.
"To reduce the negative effects of background music when recalling information in order one should either perform the task in quiet or only listen to music prior to performing the task," he added.
This study is published in the September 2010 issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology.