Music may influence a man’s ability to focus. A new research has found that while classical music can boost the concentration, rock music can distract. Interestingly, women’s ability to focus is not much affected by the background music -- be it Mozart or AC/DC, the study showed.
“One of our areas of research is how we can boost performance in many different settings -- from rowing in the Olympics, to a musical performance or delivering an important speech,” said lead author Daisy Fancourt from the Centre for Performance Science, a collaboration between Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music in Britain.
“This study suggests that for men who are operating or playing a board game, rock music may be a bad idea,” Fancourt noted.
In the study, the research team asked 352 participants to play the game Operation.
This game involves removing various body parts from a pretend patient -- Cavity Sam -- whose nose flashes and buzzes if your tweezers touch the metal sides of the body.
Researchers gave the volunteers headphones that played one of three tracks -- Andante from Sonata for Two Pianos by Mozart, Thunderstruck by AC/DC, or the sound of an operating theatre.
The team then timed them how long it took the participants to remove three body parts, as well as tracking their mistakes.
The results revealed that men who listened to AC/DC were slower and made more mistakes, compared to men who listened to Mozart or the sound of an operating theatre.
Thunderstruck triggered around 36 mistakes on average, while the Sonata and operating theatre noises caused 28.
It took volunteers around one minute to complete the task.
Women, however, did not seem to be distracted by the rock music, and none of the three tracks made any difference to performance or speed, showed the findings published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Generally, women took longer to remove the body parts, but made fewer mistakes.
The researchers are unsure why rock music affected men more than women.
One explanation, they said, could be that rock music causes more auditory stress -- a state triggered by loud or discordant music -- in men.
The scientists also asked people about their musical tastes, and found that Mozart only reduced the number of mistakes people made if they reported high levels of appreciation for the Sonata they listened to.