So yesterday one of my good friends, who also happens to be a co-worker at my fucking day job, sent me a link to a story in the online edition of The Washington Post under the headline, “Is Listening To Music Making You Worse At Your Job?” It reported on the results of recent psychology research about whether people perform better or worse on the job while listening to music.
Researchers found that when people performed “cognitive tasks”, they did worse when listening on headphones to music they like. And then the article said this:
“Not ready to ditch your headphones quite yet? There is one fix: The researchers found that participants listening to music they decidedly did not enjoy – in this case, a song from “grind core metal band” Repulsion – actually did better than those tuning into music they liked. The researchers chalk that up to a lack of ‘acoustical variation’ in the music, which likely made it less distracting.”
My first thought was “Fuck yeah! Proof that listening to grind improves job performance!” And then I read that paragraph more slowly. Apparently, listening to grind only improves your performance if you don’t like grind.
So I decided to root around some more and I found a more detailed article about the study, which compared the performance effect of “Acid Bath” by Repulsion to a pop song by a band called Infernal. Here’s what it said: