Daily life presents many distractions. The experiment tested the effects of music and background noise on working memory capacity (WMC) and levels of anxiety. College students (n = 82) were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions, and given a Digit Span task. These conditions included vocal music paired with high or low levels of background noise and non-vocal music paired with high or low levels of background noise. Participants completed four trials. It was hypothesized that participants exposed to vocal music with high levels of background noise would show lower levels of WMC than participants exposed to non-vocal music and low levels of background noise. Results showed no significant differences in WMC between vocal and non-vocal music. In addition, the impact of anxiety levels showed no difference in WMC between participants with high or low levels of anxiety. Contrary to predictions, music, background noise, and anxiety did not impact WMC.
Alpert, Justine and Ly, Jennifer
"Hidden Barriers: How Music, Background Noise, and Anxiety Affect Working Memory Capacity,"
FSU Journal of Behavioral Sciences:
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.framingham.edu/journal_of_behavioral_sciences/vol17/iss1/8