Several students at John Brown University stated that music impacts their productivity. A large majority of these students said it impacts them positively. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic provided scientific evidence backing up this report.
“In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma,” Sood, a physician of integrative medicine, said.
Many John Brown University students agreed with Sood.
“Music has been proven to stimulate the brain,” Cathya Cordova, sophomore music major, said. “Of course it always depends on what kind of music you listen to.”
In a Facebook poll open to JBU students, an overwhelming majority agreed with Cordova. Out of 106 responses, 40 said they always work more productively with music in the background, and 45 said they work more productively only if the music has no words.
When the brain is content, it is generally also more focused. This is why many students prefer to listen to music while they work.
This is not the case for every student. Elizabeth Jones, sophomore at JBU, said, “I’m a music major, so I have to listen to music for homework, but it’s to analyze it. So now it’s hard for me to have music in the background while studying because I start to analyze it by default.”
In the poll, 11 students said they worked less productively when listening to music. Only six said they did not notice a difference in their productivity.
While there is no absolute rule, it is generally better to listen to instrumental music so lyrics do not become a distraction, students reported. However, some students said that foreign music also helped them with productivity because they are not as distracted by the lyrics.