Music Question

  • #1
Wasn't sure where to post this. Anyway whenever I'm on the computer which is practially all the time I have some music going roughly 90% of the time. Most of the time if I dont have some music going I got nuts inless I'm really busy in a game or something. I heard a rumor that music decreases your concentration while your doing something. I've written reports with music going and such. I'm just wondering is listening to music so much bad or could it be improving my concentration? Thanks :wink:
 

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  • #2
selfAdjoint
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In your case the effect of music on concentration in the abstract doesn't apply, since you say you can't concentrate without music. The only problem for you is that you won't have the music when you have to concentrate in social situations, like tests or working in an office.

You might want to try to deprogram yourself. Tell yourself "I am going to concentrate now for 15 minutes with silence, then I'll reward myself with music". The next week up it to 20 minutes and so on till you can concentrate for an hour at a time without music. No pain no gain.
 
  • #3
Thanks for the tip. I can concentrate on tests without music it just seems to be when I'm not really really busy I need it. But I'm going to try going probably most the day without music anyway. :smile:
 
  • #4
Tsu
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I've read of some interesting studies done with different types of music and IQ's.

They gave two different groups of high school kids a short IQ test and then had one group listen to 3 hours of rap music and the other group listen to 3 hours of classical music. After taking another IQ test (a duplicate of the first one in content, but different wording/problems, etc) and discovered that IQ's of the classical music group went up a point or two while the IQ's of the rap music group decreased by 2-4 points. Apparently the complexity of the classical music increased syaptic activity in the brain while the rap music decreased it with it's minimal variation in melody.

So... does this mean rap music make you DUMB??

(One of my favorite songs by the Austin City Lounge Lizards: "Life is hard, but life is harder when yer dumb.")
 
  • #5
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Interesting. Can you provide a link?
 
  • #6
Tsu
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Originally posted by Nachtwolf
Interesting. Can you provide a link?
Unfortunately, no. This was a study that I had heard about some years ago. I'll try to google it later tonoc.
 
  • #7
Tsu
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Just a quick check produced this (it doesn't mention rap, but does compare classical with heavy metal instead - it also doesn't mention when the study was done):

In highly publicized work, researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) demonstrated that listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos (K.448) enhanced visual spatial learning skills. . .Certain music can also be very destructive. It is no coincidence that the majority of teenagers who end up being sent to residential treatment facilities or group homes listen to more heavy metal music than other teens. Music that is filled with lyrics of hate and despair encourage those same mind states in developing teens. What your children listen to may hurt them.
http://www.brainplace.com/bp/music/default.asp [Broken]
edit: there are a couple of interesting paragraphs at the bottom of the page at this site.

But this mentions nothing about the repetitive beat and monotonal 'singing' of rap music and it's subsequent effects on developing minds. That was what I remembered most about the study, so... I'll keep looking for it!
 
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  • #8
I listen to the occasional rap song and alot of Heavy Metal. I'm not a bad kid by any means though. I'm more of a good-goody than anything. I've stopped listening to music completely with exams coming up. Would it be good to listen to some classical though instead or that hurt me when I'm doing exams since I'm programed so to speak to be more comfortable with music going?
 
  • #9
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It is no coincidence that the majority of teenagers who end up being sent to residential treatment facilities or group homes listen to more heavy metal music than other teens.
When will be free from this environmentalist pablum? Of course it's no coincidence - people high in Neuroticism and Psychoticism prefer heravy metal, and such people are often maladjusted. To assume that listening to heavy metal screws you up is to ignore the preponderance of the evidence.

I appreciate your efforts, Tsunami, but I was more interested in the other study you mentioned.


--Mark
 
  • #10
Tsu
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Originally posted by Nachtwolf
When will be free from this environmentalist pablum?
Never? :wink:
Of course it's no coincidence - people high in Neuroticism and Psychoticism prefer heravy metal, and such people are often maladjusted. To assume that listening to heavy metal screws you up is to ignore the preponderance of the evidence.
Yeah! I'm no more maladjusted than the next guy who listened to acid rock most of his life... :wink:
I think the differences here lie in the content of heavy metal - the messages of the lyrics. The study I was referring to dealt more with Rap's constant, monotonous beat and far-from-complex 'melody' structure causing the brain the 'deaden' itself to the constant repetition.
I appreciate your efforts, Tsunami, but I was more interested in the other study you mentioned.
--Mark
Still looking, although I've gone through PAGES of google...
I think the study came out around the same time as all the 'Mozart Effect' hoopla. As I recall, it was done by a fairly prestigeous university, so I paid a bit more attention to it than I normally would have.
 
  • #13
Moonbear
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Hi folks. I'm brand new here and found this topic interesting. I'm not sure if the folks here do any sort of formal introductions, but I think my responses to this thread will tell enough about me in the way of an introduction.

1) It's really not likely there were changes in synaptic contacts after just three hours of music listening. That sort of plasticity really just doesn't occur in such short time frames and with just one exposure to a stimulus. Besides, that would be a huge leap to suggest any short-term behavioral change has anything to do with synaptic remodeling.

2) There are people who are always trying to argue classical music is better than heavy metal for all sorts of reasons, usually because they think heavy metal has some sort of satanic message hidden in it. I happen to enjoy both and find more commonalities than differences between the two types of music.

3) As for concentration and music, yes, music is a distraction, but it's all a matter of how you look at it. The reason you can focus better on your work while listening to music is that you have a single, intentional distraction that helps drown out all the other distractions. Think of it as white noise. I too find it difficult to focus without some sort of music on in the background. The more seriously I need to concentrate, the more driving and loud the music needs to be. Heavy metal, classic rock, some modern country, and classical music written for a full orchestra are the sorts of things that keep me going. My PhD dissertation was written to Dio, Ozzy, Clint Black, and Pat Benatar, among others. So, at least from my experience, it hasn't been harmful. On the other hand, I have run into the problem where it's harder for me to stay focused when there isn't any music playing, mostly because I start to notice all the other distractions around me. Since I'm well beyond the test-taking stage of my life, it's not much of an issue anymore. If I need to really concentrate on something, I can just close my office door and plug my earphones into the computer to play my music. I know I've really been concentrating when I tune out the music too -- or when I suddenly realize I'm working in a dark office because the sun has gone down and I didn't notice to turn on the lights while focused on the computer screen.

4) The point about the music not being on when you're taking your tests is a good one. I'm not sure if it has been formally studied or is just anecdotal, but there are claims that you'll perform best when the testing environment is more similar to your studying environment. I think it has to do with the associations you make with your environment. Memory works in funny ways. You know how a certain smell will suddenly make you remember something you once associated with that smell before? Sort of like that. That's why it's recommended you make your study environment as similar as you can to your testing environment. So, while you may find your creative side is inspired to write papers with the music on, when you're doing the hard-core studying for a test, turn the music off, sit at a desk, clear away all the extra clutter, etc. Of course, you'd do better to keep up with the studying all along than to cram at the last minute, but we all have done the last minute cramming session at one time or another.
 
  • #14
selfAdjoint
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1) It's really not likely there were changes in synaptic contacts after just three hours of music listening. That sort of plasticity really just doesn't occur in such short time frames and with just one exposure to a stimulus. Besides, that would be a huge leap to suggest any short-term behavioral change has anything to do with synaptic remodeling.

Don't be too sure. Short term memory may be achieved by modification of the propensity of an axion to take up or refuse to take up some particular neurotransmitter. See that paper I linked to on evolution of information processing strategies in living organisms.
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Don't be too sure. Short term memory may be achieved by modification of the propensity of an axion to take up or refuse to take up some particular neurotransmitter.

First, I'll point out that I had misread (or mis-remembered) the original statement to say there were changes in synaptic contacts, not synaptic activity. That's the problem of trying to address too many comments all at once; I should have broken down my thoughts into shorter replies to individual statements. Actual rearrangements of synapses takes much longer, on the order of many hours to days, whereas synaptic activity, i.e., neurotransmitter release and uptake by a postsynaptic receptor, of course occurs in a very short time-scale. Regardless, I apologize for my error.

That said, it is still a huge leap in logic to say anything about a neurobiological substrate for the change in IQ score based on the music played before that. There could be so many explanations that would need to be ruled out first. What age was the population studied? Did they have a prior preference for rap or classical music? What sort of classical music was provided? Classical is a pretty broad category that could have included anything from Brahm's Lullaby to the March of the Valkyries. Some classical music I would argue could be even more mind-numbing than rap. How actively did the subjects listen to the two types of music? In other words, if you played rap music to a 20 yr old, they probably know all the lyrics and may have been more focused on the music, possibly singing along, etc. On the other hand, if that same person had classical music played to them, they might not have much interest in it and perhaps rather than paying attention to the music, were sitting there thinking about the prior test and what mistakes they made, how they might have answered differently, perhaps quietly relaxing so they could stay focused better on the next test.

It's also worth noting that the terms long-term and short-term memory are falling out of favor, mainly because they are a subjective distinction that isn't necessarily reflective of the changes occurring at the neural level.

I'll try to look for the link you posted.
 
  • #16
Moonbear
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Uh, selfAdjoint? Where is that link? I don't see it anywhere in this thread and don't see another thread that looks like an obvious place for such a topic. I tried searching for your posts, but getting beyond the first page of those doesn't seem to be anything the search function was going to let me do today. If you could either repost that link here or tell me what thread it's in, I'd like to look it up. Thanks.
 
  • #17
Tsu
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Just so you'll know - there's been a problem with that search function for a long time. You'll never get past the first page until the problem is resolved. (Greg?)
 
  • #18
selfAdjoint
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Originally posted by Moonbear
Uh, selfAdjoint? Where is that link? I don't see it anywhere in this thread and don't see another thread that looks like an obvious place for such a topic. I tried searching for your posts, but getting beyond the first page of those doesn't seem to be anything the search function was going to let me do today. If you could either repost that link here or tell me what thread it's in, I'd like to look it up. Thanks.

Here's the link to the paper. It was in a thread I started called Evolution of Evolvabillity on the Biology forum. Sorry, I should have recovered the link and included it in my post.
 
  • #19
Moonbear
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Thanks for providing the link. I had seen that link while hunting around, but didn't think that article was the one you meant. I don't see anything in it addressing evolution of information processing, memory, or time frames for synaptic remodeling. What they do mention about the nervous system is pretty basic textbook stuff, nothing particularly new. I am surprised at how few citations the article has. A lot of that review includes fairly broad generalizations without citing much evidence to support it. Sometimes that's the point with PNAS articles, to sort of stir up the kettle, but I thought they still required citing support for the arguments.
 
  • #20
Evo
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Everyone I know says that they need some sort of "white noise" in the background when they study or try to concentrate. I am the opposite. I require absolute silence. I have not met anyone else that requires this. I assume this makes me a freak. ;)

Anyone else here need absolute silence? Anyone???
 
  • #21
Tsu
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Originally posted by Evo
Everyone I know says that they need some sort of "white noise" in the background when they study or try to concentrate. I am the opposite. I require absolute silence. I have not met anyone else that requires this. I assume this makes me a freak. ;)

Anyone else here need absolute silence? Anyone???
That would be me.
 
  • #22
Evo
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Originally posted by Tsunami
That would be me.
Tsunami, I am beginning to believe that we were separated at birth. :wink:
 
  • #23
Moonbear
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I'm one of those who usually has some sort of white noise on in the background, but certainly complete silence would be preferable. I don't think there is any such thing as complete silence though, so I prefer something that is sort of a constant in the background to drown out all the random noises. Otherwise, if it's too quiet, even someone else's pencil scratching across the paper as they write can be distracting for me.
 
  • #24
Evo
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Originally posted by Moonbear
I'm one of those who usually has some sort of white noise on in the background, but certainly complete silence would be preferable. I don't think there is any such thing as complete silence though, so I prefer something that is sort of a constant in the background to drown out all the random noises. Otherwise, if it's too quiet, even someone else's pencil scratching across the paper as they write can be distracting for me.
Actually, this is what I meant. I have a fan that I keep going to drown background noise out, both in my office and in my bedroom. I also rarely go to the office anymore if I actually need to concentrate, I stay home and work. I find the droning noise to be relaxing as well. Kind of suits my boring personality.
 
  • #25
Tsu
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Originally posted by Evo
Tsunami, I am beginning to believe that we were separated at birth. :wink:
Yeah, but Mom always liked you best.
 

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