LANCASHIRE: The popular view that music enhances creativity has been challenged by researchers who say it has the opposite effect. Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire, University of Gävle in Sweden and Lancaster University investigated the impact of background music on performance by presenting people with verbal insight problems that are believed to tap creativity.
They found that background music significantly impaired people’s ability to complete tasks testing verbal creativity but there was no effect for background library noise. For example, a participant was shown three words (e.g., dress, dial, flower), with the requirement being to find a single associated word (in this case “sun”) that can be combined to make a common word or phrase (i.e., sundress, sundial and sunflower).
The researchers used three experiments involving verbal tasks in either a quiet environment or while exposed to: Dr Neil McLatchie of Lancaster University said: We found strong evidence of impaired performance when playing background music in comparison to quiet background conditions. Researchers suggest this maybe because music disrupts verbal working memory.