Background music can impair memory formation, study suggests

Health Day (via USA Today) reports:

Studying for an exam while listening to music is not smart, because background music can impair your ability to perform memory tasks, new research has found.

Study participants were asked to recall a list of eight consonants in the order they were presented…

The participants’ recall ability was poorest when listening to music, regardless of whether they liked or disliked it, and in changing-state conditions. The most accurate recall occurred when participants performed the task in steady-state environments…

The study has been published online here in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology (free access to abstract; subscription required to access article).

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