Do You Listen to Music While Working? Here’s What It Does to Your Brain

By Tom Popomaronis for inc.com

When the office is almost too much to stomach, music can deliver much needed relief. Before you press ‘play’, however, have a handle on when music will be most beneficial.

Learning = Stop

Learning requires your brain to analyze and remember. When music is on, your brain also has to process auditory data on top of the new material. Because of this multitasking, your brain can interpret the new information and facts improperly or associate them in odd ways. This can be amplified if the music has lyrics.

Noisy = Play

If your workspace is noisy, the brain will try to handle all the individual pieces of data in the noise. All that data processing takes energy you otherwise could use to focus on your job. A noisy workplace can also increase stress levels and negatively impact executive function and productivity. In this scenario, listening to music can block out the potentially overwhelming noise and keep you calm and focused.

Repetitive Job = Play

Various studies have indicated that people who listened to music while performing repetitive tasks performed faster and made fewer errors. Music you like releases feel-good neurotransmitters which can help you feel relaxed and happy and focus better.

New Music = Stop

When you listen to music that’s new to you, the activity involves an element of surprise of novelty. This can ultimately make the music more interesting or appealing than whatever other task you’re trying to do.

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