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Annotated Bibliography

Does Listening to Music Influence How Well You Learn?

Isabel Rommel

Professor Malcolm Campbell

Writing & Inquiry 1104

March 16, 2017

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Annotated Bibliography

Castello y Tickell, Sofia. Should you listen to music while you study? USA Today College,

July 16, 2014. Web.

while-you-study/. Accessed March 1, 2017. This source is an article published on a news

website that introduces the topic phrased as a question, which seems to indicate that it

will analyze both sides of the subject/argument. While the article starts off by quoting

Clifford Nass, who says that its ok to listen to music while doing math but not very good

to do so while trying to read or write, it goes on more to analyze the biological and

psychological effects of music on a person, talking about how it affects mood, heart rate,

and state of being mentally (agitated, relaxed, etc.) and different genres and styles of

music will have different effects on a person; basically, if youre going to listen to music

while studying, choose the songs carefully as ones that will relax you and put you in a

good mood so that you are more focused and encouraged to work. Ultimately it says that

its better to listen to music while studying than multi-task by going on social media

and trying to do work and then offers some modern alternatives to classical music, which

it states has the best effect out of all genres because of the vibe and the lack of

distracting lyrics. While the author of this article is no doctor or psychologist, many of

her previous articles have to do with subjects relevant to college students or the

psychology behind different subjects, and she also cites known experts and professionals

(Nass and Schellenberg). The article does well to cite both studies and those experts and

makes a reasonable judgement on the issue based on studies that have been done. The

fact that it is a news article makes it less reliable than a scholarly source or statistic

study would be, but I do think it would be useful and reliable enough to use. It says that
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listening to music isnt the best like most of the statistics say but it also accepts that it

depends on both the kind of work the person is trying to do, the kind of music theyre

listening to, and the persons preference for setting and study habits like some of the

other studies and sources have stated. I think this article would be fairly useful for my

paper and subject and I will more than likely end up using it in the final paper.

Cutler, David. Dont listen to Music While Studying. EduTopia, December 4, 2013. Web. Accessed

March 2, 2017.

This article starts by commenting on the frequency with which the author, a high school

history, government, and journalism teacher, notices students listening to music while

doing their schoolwork and asking one of them why music helps her focus. He then

discusses his own college career; how he spent countless hours in the library doing work

and listening to music, thinking that it helped him focus up until he read Nick Perhams

statistical study on how music affects students ability to learn and perform on exams

when listening to music or different sounds or nothing at all. Perhams study had students

listen try to perform certain tasks after attempting to learn or memorize them in settings

with different music/sounds in the background; the results showed that the students who

were listening to music performed worse than the students who didnt listen to music.

The author of the article that he explained the results of this study to his students in an

attempt to get them to change their ways, but many refused, saying that they would rather

not do as well as they know they could as opposed to suffer through the boredom of

studying in silence or risk wasting more time getting distracted by other things in around

them such as people talking or general inconsistent noises. He goes on to explain as well
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that Perham recommends listening to music before doing work, as it puts you in a good

mood and youre therefore encouraged to work more efficiently and for a longer time

than you would otherwise. The author states that he put Perhams experiment to the test

himself, choosing to write his article in complete silence as opposed to his usual chill

music and finished the task in about half the time it usually took him. Honestly, this

article is decent enough: it provides a personal opinion on the issue, but its not a very

reliable and academic one. I like that it does include the interview from Perham and

excerpts from his study, but I am planning on using the published study by Perham

anyway, so I think this article would only be useful for the personal opinion of the author;

I may or may not use it.

Manthei, Mike and Steve N. Kelly. Effects of Popular and Classical Background Music on the

Math Test Scores of Undergraduate Students. USF School of Music. Web. Accessed March 14, 2107.

This source is a statistical study published on the USF website in which 72 students were

split into groups based on learning styles that then listened to either popular or classical

music or were in silence while learning material and studying for a math test that was

then completed along with a survey on the music (or lack thereof) they listened to. The

results of the study determined that there was no significant (less than 7 point difference

between highest and lowest) correlation between music type and test scores, and the

survey indicated that 33% of the students who listened to classical music and 43% of the

students who listened to popular music were distracted by the music. This study

determined that there was no consistency between students or types of music having an

effect on the students abilities to perform on the exam. Im very excited that this study
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contradicts the results of Perhams study because while I do want this essay to start out

more as an exploratory essay that allows me and others to learn about the science behind

it, I do believe that there is definitely more than one side to it and that it really depends on

the person and their preference on study habits and subject material. The study seems

reliable enough to me as well; it was conducted at a university and was conducted and

reported on and published appropriately so I see no reason why it couldnt be used as a

reliable and important source to this paper.

Perham, Nick and Joanne Vizard. Can preference for background music mediate the irrelevant

sound effect? Wiley Online Library: Applied Cognitive Psychology, July 20, 2010. Web. Accessed March 2, 2017.

This is another study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology that was conducted by

Nick Perham and Joanne Vizard. It tested 25 students (ages 18 to 30) serial recall after

they spent time learning material under the following conditions: listening to liked music,

disliked music, silence, a voice repeating the number three, and a voice calling off

random digits. The results showed that the students who listened to both categories of

music and the random digits did worse on the test than those in the other two conditions,

indicating that music and inconsistent noises negatively affect ones ability to memorize

and learn material. This study is by far the most well-known amongst experts on the

subject and those who have researched it, and Nick Perham is considered one of the most

knowledgeable people on the subject so it definitely is accepted as an academically

reliable source, but it does seem slightly biased in that people who liked certain genres of

music (thrash metal, which was used strictly in the disliked category) were prohibited

from participating in the study, as well as the fact that the population of the study was
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volunteer-based. I will be using this source as it is one of the more well-known and

widely-accepted ones, but it will probably be used more towards the beginning of the

paper as opposed to the more argumentative part where I try to explain that it depends

more on each individual persons preference for study settings/habits and learning styles

as well as the kind of work attempting to be done.