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Studying with Music: An Examination of Cognitive Influences on Encoding with Background Music

Walford, Regan
The purpose of this paper is to synthesize and assess existing literature on memory encoding and other cognitive processes to determine the potential benefits and drawbacks of studying with music. This paper examines and discusses the results of past studies on aspects such as context dependent memory, music’s impact on mood, state dependent memory, the Yerkes-Dodson law, and the seductive detail effect. How to utilize music in a way that is the least distracting to study ability is also examined, and the idea that studying with music may offer the least hinderance to memory encoding only when it is typical, familiar, slow in tempo, low in intensity, and low in complexity is highlighted. Based on the benefits associated with studying with music and because of how potential detrimental effects can be mitigated and controlled, background music is recommended as a beneficial tool to use to enhance time spent studying.
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Psychology,background music,Studying with music,memory,studying
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