Making sense of background music listening habits: An arousal and task-complexity account

Kiss, Luca and Linnell, Karina J. 2022. Making sense of background music listening habits: An arousal and task-complexity account. Psychology of Music, ISSN 0305-7356 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Although listening to background music is common, there is no consensus about its effects on cognitive-task performance. One potential mediating factor that could resolve the inconsistency in findings is arousal. To explore the role of arousal in mediating the effect of background music, this survey study directly explored people’s background music listening habits during a variety of everyday tasks varying in their complexity including studying, reading, driving, and monotonous tasks. Out of the 197 participants, most participants reported listening to background music during driving or monotonous tasks but fewer did so during studying or reading. Participants who did listen to music during studying or reading mostly reported choosing instrumental music and listening to music to calm them down. Contrarily, participants who listened to music during driving or monotonous tasks reported choosing vocal music more often and listening to music to feel energised. In sum, results revealed clearly different patterns in background music listening habits between tasks varying in their complexity that are consistent with arousal mediating the effect of background music. The results also revealed that people have an implicit awareness of the effects of background music and match the music to their needs as dictated by the specific task.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/03057356221089017

Keywords:

background music, listening habits, mood, arousal, task-complexity, attention

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
4 February 2022Accepted
27 April 2022Published Online

Item ID:

31753

Date Deposited:

04 May 2022 08:33

Last Modified:

04 May 2022 08:34

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/31753

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