Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Does Listening to Loud Music Increase Errors in Driving Performance?

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Michael Oliver

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Why is it that when a person is driving in a new place and gets distracted, they have to turn down the radio in order to see better? Driving while listening to music has been linked to slower reaction time, and more mistakes while driving (Ünal et al., 2013). The current study looks at how loud, non lyrical music affects driving performance, by tracking errors on a driving simulator. Participants took a demographic survey, then were given a period of time to practice on the driving simulator and get adjusted to it, before being put into one of two conditions, control condition where they drove for five minutes in silence, and experimental condition where they drove while listening to loud, non lyrical music for five minutes. Participants completed both conditions, however the order in which they were facilitated was random. We hypothesized that participants who listened to loud non lyrical music would do worse than those who did not listen to music. Results of the study reveal that there were no differences between groups (t = -0.37; p = 0.71). Although lyrical music has been shown to negatively affect performance in previous studies, our findings suggest that non lyrical music does not have the same negative effects on driving performance.

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