Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Studying/Reading to Music
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Studying/Reading to Music

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I was curious to hear from those of you who listen to music while reading/studying from a book. For those that do, my question is this. Don't you find it challenging to focus on your reading at the same time as you're listening to music? I'd imagine that especially during studying, where you're full focus is required, doesn't the music distract your focus? Or have you trained yourself to tune it out, and still retain full focus? I rarely ever see someone without headphones or earphones at my local library, and I always wondered if/how they remain productive while reading/studying and listening to music at the same time. So I thought, what better place to ask than here? I'd love to hear from you all. Thank you.
Edited by Oof Oink - 4/3/13 at 6:45pm
post #2 of 22
I can't listen to anything when in full focus mode. But for less demanding work i do half listen to music.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hmm... Can you please clarify what you mean by half listen?
post #4 of 22

Playing it as background noise. Occasionally a bit of the music will grab me, but mostly I'm not focusing on the music.

post #5 of 22
I can study perfectly fine with volumes over 75%. And even things like Nirvana, Kvelertak, Foo Fighters, and heavier stuff.
post #6 of 22

Usually I will try to study or read using instrumental music, or even just something in a different language (such as Japanese) as I find that I can focus more on my studies that way, and I don't struggle as much.

post #7 of 22
I tend to listen to instrumental music when I'm studying or working. Downtempo electronic with little or no lyrics, soundtracks like Tron and Batman (Hans Zimmer), sometimes classical or jazz. At times I find myself pausing the music while I read or reread something difficult.
post #8 of 22

I usually have some instrumental music (mostly piano) at low volume when I am working on less demanding things like running statistics analysis on the computer.  But for more demanding things like writing a paper or reading an article or textbook, I do not have music on. 

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Based on this thread, and the information I gathered from older threads, there seem to be 2 separate camps. On one hand, there are those who simply can't have music playing when reading/studying. On the other hand, there are those who can. Of the latter, there are a few divisions:

1. Those that can only retain focus when the music playing is free of vocals, and the music is generally kept at quieter than normal listening levels. This seems to be the majority, among those that do listen to music while reading/studying.
2. Those whose listening varies, depending on the task at hand (less demanding tasks vs. more demanding ones).
3. Those who simply aren't distracted by the music, and can leave it playing on end, regardless of how demanding the task is. This seems to be the minority among listeners.

Sound about right?
post #10 of 22

Overall, listening is actually bad for your attention. The human mind has been proven to be only good at focusing on one specific thing. That's why when they do magic tricks, they can take things from you without noticing and do the things that they do. You'd be very surprised at how bad the human mind is at "multi-tasking". Your brain switches focus from one thing to the other, but it can't keep up with 2 things at once. I watched a video on this in a biology lecture, and it blew me away (even though I already thought the human mind was bad at multi-tasking, it still blew me away). 

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrViolin View Post

Overall, listening is actually bad for your attention. The human mind has been proven to be only good at focusing on one specific thing. That's why when they do magic tricks, they can take things from you without noticing and do the things that they do. You'd be very surprised at how bad the human mind is at "multi-tasking". Your brain switches focus from one thing to the other, but it can't keep up with 2 things at once. I watched a video on this in a biology lecture, and it blew me away (even though I already thought the human mind was bad at multi-tasking, it still blew me away). 

I'm sorry, but I disagree. I can listen to heavy music really really loud while still being able to study and concentrate on both things at once. Hell, I even sing. I don't know if I'm gifted or something, but I've been able to do this my entire life.
post #12 of 22

There's two schools of thought on this, and I think both make valid points. First, most of the testing I read about ages ago when I was considering becoming a psych major pointed to the fact that anything that divides your attention degrades your performance in a given task in comparison to how you'd do if you devoted your complete attention to it. This suggests that music would actually be a distraction and would hinder your ability to retain information while studying. However, we are rarely in a state where we can completely devote attention to one thing, and often we are under at least some stress. Music can drown out less regular sources of distraction and can relieve stress, both of which might have a more detrimental effect on your concentration than the music. In this case, you might very well do better while listening to music.

 

Unfortunately, in my case I fall squarely in the camp who absolutely cannot have music playing when I'm trying to retain information. What's bizarre is that I don't notice the impact as much when I'm reading something I actually enjoy (as opposed to a dry textbook), but it's still there--I might remember liking what I read but I have trouble remembering anything specific from it.

 

About the only auditory stimulus that helps me concentrate is persistent noise--either white or brown or some approximation thereof. I've actually used generated brown noise through headphones (it sounds like a waterfall) when things were too loud around me and it's helped a little bit. Turning on the fan in exhaust mode also helps. But anything even slightly irregular--like music--quickly leaves me reading the same sentence six times and not comprehending it once.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanseAmador View Post

I'm sorry, but I disagree. I can listen to heavy music really really loud while still being able to study and concentrate on both things at once. Hell, I even sing. I don't know if I'm gifted or something, but I've been able to do this my entire life.

Maybe you're like I was at your age and haven't found anything challenging enough to require your full attention. I wasn't fully intellectually challenged until covering second year university work and could half-ass my way though assignments and work before then without dedicating a great deal of concentration to it.


Edited by Tangster - 4/8/13 at 6:35am
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Fantastic discussion, fellas! To me, what either one of you have stated makes complete sense. At this point, I'm lead to believe that metacognition plays a pivotal role in this discussion...
post #15 of 22
I don't know guys, I've been able to study Ecuador's history with music (we've had like 60 presidents and many have done stupid things that I have to remember). And math too.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Studying/Reading to Music