2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Mattia Preti "Concert" (1630)
British psychologists have found that listening to music negatively affects the ability to be creative when solving problems related to language. Participants in the researchers' three experiments performed worse on the association test with music on: both with familiar text, and with text in an unfamiliar language, and with music without words at all. The article was published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
Objectively, people's ability to be creative in the decision-making process is assessed using a special test for associations. In various variations of such a test, participants are given a set of words that are not very related to each other and are asked to find a word or phrase that could connect them. For example, the words "lemon", "banana" and "pear" can be connected with the words "fruit" and "yellow". The words "brick", "apple" and "plate" are more difficult to connect: the test provides for both simple and complex variants, and the ability to find a common word for the least related according to the test results is considered directly proportional to the ability to be creative.
In a new study using this test, scientists led by Emma Threadgold at the University of Central Lancashire decided to test how creativity is affected by listening to music. The participants in their study tried to build associations in the selected words in four conditions: when listening to music with text in an unknown language (Spanish), when listening to a melody without words, when listening to famous music (in English) and without music at all.
Participants passed a kind of association test, in which it was necessary to find a common word (and also, possibly, in the form of a prefix or postfix) so that it could be used to compose stable expressions or words (for example, in Russian, the words “possession "," Build "and" howl "you can choose" house- ").
In total, the researchers conducted three experiments with different conditions. In the first experiment, 30 people took part: they had to pass an association test either in a quiet room or in a room in which music was played in Spanish. The results of the study showed that the presence of music significantly (p = 0, 004) reduces the productivity of the participants during the test: in a quiet room, they selected common words for more examples, and also coped better with difficult options.
In the second experiment (18 participants), the scientists used music without words. In a quiet room, the volunteers again performed significantly (p = 0, 009) better at the task.
Finally, in the third experiment (36 participants), the researchers used music with familiar words to the participants, as well as recording sounds in the library. It turned out that music again reduced the participants' performance on the test. On the contrary, the quiet room and the sounds of the library increased it. Moreover, performance did not increase even if the music improved the mood of the participants, and also if the participant himself reported that he prefers to study with music.
Results of the third experiment
The authors concluded that the ability of people to solve problems related to text processing can be impaired when listening to music due to the fact that their working memory is overloaded with information that comes through the auditory channels. At the same time, it does not matter whether the music contains words or not, just as it does not matter whether the language of the performed song is familiar. In contrast, library noise that has not impaired the participants' ability to solve their proposed problems is perceived as “stable” background noise. Of course, the association test can assess people's ability to be creative only within the framework of solving problems related to the processing of linguistic stimuli, therefore, it is impossible to evaluate the influence of music on creativity in solving all possible problems outside the language with the help of it.
Another way of objectively assessing creativity is the task of alternative applications. The participant in such an experiment is given an object and asked to come up with as many uses for it as possible, which are then judged to be creative or not based on how far they are from the most obvious use. Using such a test last year, scientists were able to find the neural connections that are responsible for the ability to think creatively.