Be Less Stupid — September 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Listening To Music Makes You Stupid


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If you’re like most people, you think you can concentrate equally well on a given task while you’re listening to music… as when you are NOT listening to music. Plus, you likely also think that when you are multi-tasking, you are being MORE productive, not less.

If the above describes you, you should continue reading. Assuming you’re interested in improving your performance on cognitive skills.

According to the preliminary results of a new experiment conducted by This vs That, listening to music while attempting to find hidden words in a complicated word search puzzle will result in fewer found words, compared to that of a control group, who did not listen to music.

In this case, the music we played was: Thunderstruck, by AC/DC.

This vs That gathered 22 people in a hotel conference room. Each was seated in a chair and provided a pencil and the word search puzzle. Everyone was given 5 minutes to find the names of as many European countries in the word search puzzle as possible (see above). Once the experiment began, the proctor turned on his I-phone, connected to an external speaker and played Thunderstruck. Loud. Prior to the playing of the music, the participants had no idea music would be played.


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According to our analysis of the data thus far, people listening to Thunderstruck were able to find, on average, 6.68 words. The people who solved the puzzle without Thunderstruck blaring, were able to find 8.33 words, on average.

These results are in line with previous extensive studies (here, too) into cognitive performance while listening to music. Would the results be different if participants were listening to Disco? What about classical? What if they were hungry? Tired? Drunk?

We’re going to find out… and get the results out ASAP.


Do you want to help science and participate in a follow up to this experiment? It will be conducted on Google Hang Out and won’t take much time. If you’re interested, fill in the contact form below.

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