David Mangan
Applied Psychology / Year 4

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David Mangan

David Mangan

Applied Psychology

Year 4

  • Project Title The Actual and Self-Perceived Effects of Background Music on Visual Attention
  • Course BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology
  • Year 4
  • Contact Info

Background Music and Visual Attention

This study aimed to examine whether or not presence of and/or type of background music has an impact on the visual attention abilities of college students. It also hoped to discover what impact background music may have on college students’ perceptions of their own performance.

Project Description

This study aimed to examine whether or not presence of and/or type of background music has an impact on the visual attention abilities of college students. It also hoped to discover what impact background music may have on college students’ perceptions of their own performance. This project was inspired by theories such as The Mozart Effect and The Mood and Arousal Hypothesis which suggest that music can have an impact on a person’s cognitive abilities. This area of research has produced largely mixed findings with certain studies suggesting that music can enhance cognitive abilities and others suggesting the exact opposite. Evidently, more research in this area was required. In this study, participants drawn from the IADT student population were randomly assigned to one of three background music conditions (i.e. Exciting Music, Calming Music, No Music) and required to complete a short Trail Making Test. Once the task was complete they were asked to estimate (in seconds) how long they took to complete said task.

Project Findings

It was found that type of background music condition had no significant impact on the “actual” visual attention abilities of participants. Interestingly, however, a significant difference was found between participant self-perceptions of their performance. Calming music seemed to result in less accurate estimations of performance.

David Mangan
Applied Psychology / Year 4