Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

A Physiological Look on the Effects of Background Music and Personality on Cognitive Performance

Publication Date



Entertainment and Music Business, Mike Curb College of


Audio Engineering

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Song Hui Chon

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


The relationship between background music and cognitive performance has received much interest from researchers. Previous literature suggests that music improves performance in various tasks; however, further research found conflicting results, which leads to the idea that music impacts everyone differently. The current study is conducted using physiological responses to better understand the relationship between background music and cognitive performance in differing personalities. We hypothesize that introverts would perform better in silence while extraverts would perform better with music. We also hypothesize that introverts would have higher heart rates with music than extraverts. Forty-seven undergraduate participants were asked to complete multiple tasks while listening to randomly assigned music in the background. Each participant’s heart rate and electrodermal activity were also recorded throughout the entirety of the study. Results revealed that participants’ baseline cognitive ability had a significant impact on their cognitive scores, unlike musical conditions. Participants who enjoyed their assigned music performed much better on the arithmetic task. Introverted participants showed significantly higher heart rates than the extraverted. Our results show that cognitive performance and physiological response vary with the person and task.

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