The effect of background music on task-focus

Authors from UK examined the effect of background music on the prevalence of different attentional states while performing tasks. Understanding this has a few practical reasons: finding out if background music listening might be beneficial for attention and performance and understanding the complex relationship between arousal and attention. Participants included 23 females and 17 males. They were asked to send a 30-min long playlist containing their preferred background music tracks. The sustained-attention task was a variation of the Psychomotor Vigilance Task, presented with six thought-probes per block. Authors found out that background music increased task-focus and decreased mind-wandering states on a low-demanding tasks, however it did not affect overall performance measures and time-on-task effects.