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Psychol Rep. 1993 Feb;72(1):171-7.

Effects of background music on anxiety, satisfaction with communication, and productivity.

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Department of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269-1085.


Previous research on music's influences has often been nonconclusive, partly because subjective measures have been used for testing opposite conditions such as sedative versus stimulative music or happy versus sad music. Here, background music's influence upon 104 conversants was explored by manipulating the presence of music, and when present, by the more objectively assessed structural elements of mode and speed. Conversations taking place in the presence of background music were rated as more satisfying. Major mode music elicited higher ratings of satisfaction with communication than minor mode. Modality and speed interacted, illustrating the importance of not confounding music's structural elements when testing opposite conditions in studies of the effects of music. While background music did not affect productivity relative to no music, those hearing background music achieved greater productivity when music was in the major mode.

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