Does music really help you study?

Does music really help you study?

Ameena Alsikafi, Staff writer

Look around you. Do you see any earbuds in? You probably do. It seems that in every class, there are always students listening to music. They often claim that it helps them concentrate and need to listen to music to do well–but is this really true? Do people end up doing better when listening to music?

Texas A&M cognitive psychologist Brian Anderson said, “When you’re doing two things at the same time, like studying and listening to music, and one of the things requires cognitive effort, there will be a cost to how much information you can retain doing both activities.” 

Anderson claims that multitasking is impossible. Human beings are not able to multitask because attention is a “limited resource,” and we can only focus on one thing at a time. Many people who believe they are multitasking end up not being able to commit information to memory. 

WebMD writer Cheryl Whitten said, “Listening to music with lyrics was more likely to cause a distraction and problems with concentration. Working memory and reading comprehension also get worse.” 

However, others support the idea of studying with music. Dr. Timothy Byron explains the Mozart effect, saying that playing Mozart in the background of an exam has resulted in much higher test scores. More recent information has told us that this effect works because music simply makes us happy. This joy allows people to perform better during tests.

Many teenagers like feeling this joy, with some students never seen without an airpod in. Sophomore Stella Henretta is one of these people. She is constantly listening to music, and claims that it helps her stay focused during classes and tests. 

“For me, the main benefit of music is that it really motivates me. When I’m motivated, I’m able to focus all my attention on my goals of completing my work” said Henretta. “I would say if I listen to a song that has a lot of lyrics or is really intense, it can overpower my thoughts.”

Overall, it seems that music can help with studying as long as it’s not overstimulating–so avoid hardcore rap or intense pop music. The best type of music to listen to is classical, instrumental, or foreign language songs. Concentration is hard to keep, so don’t let music hinder your studying.