Cognitive test performance and background music

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Dec;85(3 Pt 2):1435-8. doi: 10.2466/pms.1997.85.3f.1435.


This study examined the effects of background music on test performance. In a repeated-measures design 30 undergraduates completed two cognitive tests, one in silence and the other with background music. Analysis suggested that music facilitated cognitive performance compared with the control condition of no music: more questions were completed and more answers were correct. There was no difference in heart rate under the two conditions. The improved performance under the music condition might be directly related to the type of music used.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Auditory Perception
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Music*