Students prefer music over silence when studying

By Megan Pellegrino
October 6, 2006

While walking around a college campus or dorm, one is bound to either see a student wearing headphones or hear music playing in a dorm room. It almost seems as though music has become a part of life.

Today, some students feel that listening to music while studying is an essential and keeps focus, while others seem to feel that studying with music is a distraction,

So who is right in this debate? According to surveys given by the Washington Post, whether one chooses to listen to music while studying or to study in silence, the material will be learned and comprehended. The catch is that the “brain systems involved were different.”

Those who listen to music while studying will learn the material, but will have less flexibility in applying the information. On the other side, those who do not study with music will learn the same information, but will be able to apply the knowledge to other situations other than the classroom and retain the information.

The reason for this is due to the part of the brain called the hippocampus. While listening to music or multi-tasking, it becomes split, making the focus 50 percent in the music and 50 percent on the work. Meanwhile, studying in silence keeps the hippocampus 100 percent focused on the work.

So what is the “correct” way to study with music? It is said that if one must study with music on, the best way is to listen to music with no words, like classical, or even music that is familiar so that there is no longer thought involved. Studying this way with music keeps the focus on studying and not on the words or the beats of the music. It will in turn become the background of studying and no longer in competition.

At Cabrini, it seems as though the majority seem to listen to music while they study or do work. There are still some who prefer silence, while for others depend on the subject or how hard the work is that is being worked on.

Sophomore business major Andrea Mory, said that she prefers it to be quiet while studying, but at the same time, she says that when studying for a long time, or for a major test she does like to listen to classical music because, “it makes her feel smart.”

On the other side of the question is sophomore early childhood and elementary education major Michele Fitzgerald, who always listens to music while studying. That music is mostly Indie Rock because it is her style and keeps her focused.

The one in the middle of these two is freshman English and communication major Becky Scull, who feels that music “must always be played, but it must be mellow like Dave Matthews Band or Coldplay.”

Overall, its seems that each has their own way of studying with or without music. Each preference is different and no two answers are alike, but in the end, who is truly the better student?

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Megan Pellegrino

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