"For example, a participant was shown three words (e.g., dress, dial, flower), with the requirement being to find a single associated word (in this case "sun") that can be combined to make a common word or phrase (i.e., sundress, sundial and sunflower)."
This seems more like a pattern recognition puzzle. Not the flow state of "creativity".
I guess there are a lot of different kinds of creativity. This seems to target something I'd think of specifically as "lateral thinking." I agree it doesn't seem like a very satisfying test, though.
But the OP article's premise of tying language center and word selection to "creativity" is weird and sounds like just bad science.
The researchers used three experiments involving verbal tasks in either a quiet environment or while exposed to:
Background music with foreign (unfamiliar) lyrics
Instrumental music without lyrics
Music with familiar lyrics
What a pitri dish experiment. I don't give this any value whatever to actual creative tasks like painting or designing a video game. Music can help induce a state of flow to be creative in a multitude of work environs -- OK, but this research proved you can't solve a simple word riddle quite as well.
This was like studying the effect of food quality on mental function by having participants solve addition problems while eating one of: a Skittle, a carrot, or a Tylenol.
I have found that some songs with English lyrics as being distracting but not as much as people talking on the telephone in an office space
Then there is the notion of doing hardcore coding. Maybe that’s more logic or a combination of logic and pattern recognition.
Also as a 10+ year musician, I prefer programming (or any task that needs focus) without any sound. Listening to music, makes me noticeably more relaxed in a "bad way", and I definitely can't get into the nitty gritty of an actual problem, with anywhere close of a hyperfocus "shit is real" kind of attitude.
Music can get me in the mood, but when I get there and the music is off, it's 5 hours later and I wrote a figurative 1000 lines of working code.
In my case, music helps me out with my tinitus, without it I'm in a lot of pain. And unlike, say, white noise, listening to music helps a ton with depressed mood. I can't get through my days without its help!
Surely others have similar or different reasons for using music while working!
> The third experiment - exposure to music with familiar lyrics- impaired creativity regardless of whether the music also boosted mood, induced a positive mood, was liked by the participants, or whether participants typically studied in the presence of music.
Given that they had to specify this, it would imply that for music without familiar lyrics creativity was not impaired (at least, to a statistically significant level) when participants enjoyed the music or usually study to music.
A pair of good, ear covering headphones improves my focus in a huge way. Great for crunch times - especially with distraction prone ADHD.
Since I've been working there for a while, the headphones have become an analogue for a DND sign. Someone else in the office picks up my calls. Nobody disturbs unless it's our managing director with a pressing issue.
This study is absolutely not about creativity. What -if anything at all- it is, about, I see was left as an exercise to the reader.
Either this is an incredibly widespread mistake in science journalism, or it's not a mistake and I'm an idiot?
This is essentially a Frequentist claim, which is a bit different from your Bayesian belief updating about music’s effects. If, when, and how you can from one to the other has been a major debate in statistics and science.
Tedious tasks music is fine with. Like tweaking pixels in a paint program or something. Things that don't take concentration.
Personally I recommend music be reserved for when you can really "get into it", such as when doing physical activities (dance, exercise, etc...especially ones you can do to the rhythm), or just sitting back and listening. And that should be often.
But using it as background when doing other things that tax your brain is to me a waste of the music. (as well as the problems noted in the study)
I guess when I'm doing something repetitive and manual (like painting a house), then some music is just a welcome distraction. But when I'm working on something that requires heavy brainpower (like debugging some failing computer process), then silence does seem to be best.
play -n synth brownnoise synth pinknoise mix synth sine amod 0.2 60