How music influences your creativity, research finds

1 share

Many people enjoy doing other things while listening to music, reading, studying, writing, cleaning etc.  The recent research shows that this practice inhibits creativity. It specifically talks about people who sit in peace. The recent research on music and creativity believes that silent people are more creative than the rest.

The general view that music inspires creativity differs from the opinion of many researchers who believe in its reverse effect. There are countless studies by Psychologists on the influence of background music on people’s performance. Most of which is an exposure to verbal insight difficulties which normally hinder creativity.

They discovered that background music ‘significantly impaired’ the ability of people to complete tasks checking verbal creativity — but there was no impact for background library noise.

This research, published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, was led by Dr. Neil McLatchie of Lancaster University. The good news is that he tested just for one kind of creativity.

Observations of the study

To check how music inspires or interferes with your creativity, Participants were shown 3 unrelated words and requested to find a single word which could be added onto all of them.

For instance, a participant was shown 3 words (e.g., dial, dress, flower), with the condition to find a single related word (in this case “sun”). This can be combined to make a common phrase or words like a sundial, sundress, and sunflower.

The researchers used these 3 experiments including verbal tasks in either a silent environment or while exposed to;

  • Background music with foreign or unfamiliar lyrics
  • Instrumental music without any lyrics
  • Some music with familiar lyrics

Researchers of the study found a strong indication of reduced performance when playing background music as compared to noiseless background environments. They propose that this may be due to music disturbs verbal working memory.

The third experiment which was exposure to music with familiar lyrics, impaired the creativity irrespective of whether the participants enjoy music inspired creativity and improved mood or not.

Half the participants said they typically studied while listening to music. Nonetheless, it reduced their capacity to answer the queries compared to quiet.

However, there was no noteworthy difference in performance of the verbal tasks between the silent and library noise situations. According to researchers, this is because library noise is a “steady state” condition. Here, music inspires creativity. 

“In conclusion, the research findings challenge the widespread view that music inspires creativity and instead reveal that music, irrespective of the presence of semantic content (no lyrics, familiar lyrics or unfamiliar lyrics), constantly disrupts the creative performance in insight problem-solving.

Drawbacks of the study

Researchers acknowledged that the findings do not clarify how music inspires creativity or why it hinders with verbal creativity, stating to competing for theories that background sounds either decrease attention or that even intuitive attention to music lowers what can be focused on the chore at hand.

It is possible that music could be good for some types of creativity and bad for others. One research of visuospatial problem solving revealed that the background sounds improve it. However, there was not any specific test for music.

Music may also enhance your motivation, and a preceding study found an increase in creativity after listening to some music.









Like it? Share with your friends!

1 share
Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format