Author(s)

Cameron Miller

Date Approved

9-9-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. School Psychology-Professional School Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta

Subject(s)

Music;Reading comprehension

Disciplines

Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Abstract

The present study seeks to observe the effect of background music on reading comprehension, specifically searching for possible differences between effects brought on by different genres (i.e. classical and rock) and the presence of lyrics. Research on task performance in the presence of background sound is mixed, in part due to the large number of possible applications. An overview of existing research on this topic is presented, including articles on the relationship between music and cognitive ability, distractors and processing resources, and pre-existing studies on music and reading comprehension. University students participated in a randomized experiment, taking the Reading Comprehension portion of the Nelson Denny Reading Test in the presence of either (1) classical music with lyrics, (2) classical music without lyrics, (3) rock with lyrics, or (4) rock without lyrics. One-way analysis of variance revealed no significant main effect for both variables of genre and lyrics. A significant interaction was found between these two variables. Implications and possible explanations for these findings are discussed. Limitations of the present study and future improvements and directions are discussed.

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