A study by the University of Wales researchers has found that listening to music distracts the mind from the task at hand.
Lead researcher Nick Perham, PhD, and colleagues at the Wales Institute in Cardiff assessed concentration capabilities in 25 people aged 18 to 30 when they listened to music.
In a test known as serial recall, these people were asked to recall a list of eight consonants in a specific order. The test was performed when participants listed to music, were in a quiet environment or heard the number 3 over and over again.
It was found that the best results were obtained when there was quiet or when the number three was repeated. "The poorer performance of the music and changing-state sounds are due to the acoustical variation within those environments," Perham said in a news release. "This impairs the ability to recall the order of items, via rehearsal, within the presented list."
The study details are published in the September issue of the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.