Music impairs our ability to hold a conversation

Music impairs our ability to hold a conversation

Many pay special attention to music when they are having a party with their loved ones. They often favor songs that everyone knows to create a good atmosphere. But a scientific study suggests that these ultra-popular songs can make conversations between guests more difficult.

American researchers came to this conclusion after conducting an experiment involving 31 volunteers, aged 21 to 33. They analyzed their brain activity while they listened to an audio book, narrated by a man, for 72 minutes. Scientists say that this type of recording comes closest to a conversation in background noise, according to New Scientist magazine which was able to consult the conclusions of their study.

During the experiment, the academics repeatedly asked the participants to focus on different excerpts from the audiobook. The rest of the time, they had to pay attention to several songs that were commercial successes, including Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, “Joan of Arc on the Dance Floor” by Aly & AJ and “OMG What’s Happening” by Ava Max. All while always listening to the same audiobook.

The research team found that volunteers were better able to concentrate on the content of the audiobook when the background music was unfamiliar to them. A questionnaire completed at the end of the experiment also highlighted the fact that the study participants were able to shift their attention more easily between the songs and the audiobook when they had a certain mastery of the fourth art. “A person’s ability to noticeably filter out ‘musical noise’ at a cocktail dinner depends on their objective musical abilities.“, we can read in the study published on the pre-publication site bioRxiv.

In other words, music lovers find it easier to tune out background music. They are more able to maintain a conversation at a party than others, if we are to believe the authors of the study. Something to keep in mind when organizing a party or any event where discussions and music combine.

Good in his body, good in his head!