Silence Vs Sound: Does Study with Sound Is More Effective Than Study in Silence?

Silence Vs Sound: Does Study with Sound Is More Effective Than Study in Silence?
By Ahmad Amirali

Today, I become a part of a discussion, or rather an argument, at my workplace. The topic of our debate was does working in silence would help to complete the assigned task more effectively rather than working with some sound or music. Well, the discussion ended with no conclusion, but this discourse reminded me of my class of 2015 where one student always wears earphones whenever she was given classwork or an activity task. At first that behaviour irritates me, but upon asking, she said ‘Sir, wearing earphones and listening music helps me concentrate on the task’. So the question is, does study with Sound is more effective than Study in Silence?

The Mozart Effect suggests that listening to music might help some people with specific mental tasks. However, there are cases where people work or study more effectively in a quiet environment. Some research shows that for specific cognitive tasks, you need quiet more than anything. According to research conducted at Glasgow Caledonian University, ‘for most types of cognitively demanding tasks, anything but quiet hurts performance’. In one the research, they reported ‘Forty participants completed five cognitive tasks: immediate recall, free recall, numerical and delayed recall, and Stroop…The performance was lessened across all cognitive tasks in the presence of background sound (music or noise) compared to silence’.

Similarly, many types of research proved that music could help with specific tasks. However, those tasks usually don’t require a lot of mental demand. Neuroscientist and the author This is Your Brain on Music Daniel Levitin asserted that ‘Most of what a brain surgeon spends their time doing is drilling through the skull bone. In that case, it’s a situation like being a long-distance truck driver. If nothing goes wrong, the task itself is somewhat boring and repetitive, so you need something that will keep you psychologically aroused’.

In conclusion, I believe, the outcome of any tasks either in silence or with music depends on the nature of the job and once capacity (motivation) in completion of the work. Music without lyrics might help you in concentrating on the job. However, the tasks that involve mental work demands quiet and noise-free environment to produce better results.

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