Background Music and Cognitive Task Performance: A Systematic Review of Task, Music, and Population Impact

Cheah, Yiting ORCID: 0000-0001-8637-6364, Wong, Hoo Keat ORCID: 0000-0002-0387-3590, Spitzer, Michael and Coutinho, Eduardo ORCID: 0000-0001-5234-1497
(2022) Background Music and Cognitive Task Performance: A Systematic Review of Task, Music, and Population Impact. Music & Science, 5. p. 205920432211343.

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<jats:p>Research on the effect of background music (BgM) on cognitive task performance is marked by inconsistent methods and inconclusive findings. In order to provide clarity to this area, we performed a systematic review on the impact of BgM on performances in a variety of tasks whilst considering the contributions of various task, music, and population characteristics. Following the PRISMA and SWiM protocols, we identified 95 articles (154 experiments) that comprise cognitive tasks across six different cognitive domains—memory; language; thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving; inhibition; attention and processing speed. Extracted data were synthesized using vote counting based (solely) on the direction of effects and analyzed using a sign test analysis. Overall, our results demonstrate a general detrimental effect of BgM on memory and language-related tasks, and a tendency for BgM with lyrics to be more detrimental than instrumental BgM. Only one positive effect (of instrumental BgM) was found; and in most cases, we did not find any effect of BgM on task performance. We also identified a general detrimental impact of BgM towards difficult (but not easy) tasks; and towards introverts (but not extraverts). Taken together, our results show that task, music, and population-specific analyses are all necessary when studying the effects of BgM on cognitive task performance. They also call attention to the necessity to control for task difficulty as well as individual differences (especially level of extraversion) in empirical studies. Finally, our results also demonstrate that many areas remain understudied and therefore a lot more work still needs to be done to gain a comprehensive understanding of how BgM impacts cognitive task performance.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 3603 Music, 36 Creative Arts and Writing, Basic Behavioral and Social Science, Behavioral and Social Science, Mental health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2022 12:49
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 20:42
DOI: 10.1177/20592043221134392
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