Effects of background music on concentration of workers

Work. 2011;38(4):383-7. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1141.


Objective: Background music is a common element in daily living and the workplace. Determination of whether background music affects human work concentration is a relevant concern. Studies have found background music influences human behavior, and this study attempts to understand how background music and listener fondness for types of music affects worker concentration.

Methods: This study analyzes how different types of background music--and how listeners' degree of preference for the background music--can affect listener concentration in attention testing through Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT).

Participants: Data were collected from 89 workers. The participants ranged in age between 19 and 28 years old, with an average age of 24 years old.

Results: We conclude background music influenced listener attention. This influence has more to do with listener fondness for the music than with type of music. Compared to situations without background music, the likelihood of background music affecting test-taker attention performance is likely to increase with the degree to which the test-taker likes or dislikes the music.

Conclusions: It is important not to select music that workers strongly like or dislike when making a selection of background music to avoid negatively affecting worker concentration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / psychology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Young Adult