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Music While You Work: The Effect of Music on Typing Performance and Experience

Bramwell-Dicks, Anna Felicity (2016) Music While You Work: The Effect of Music on Typing Performance and Experience. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Over many years, and in a variety of contexts, researchers have shown that music affects human behaviour and emotion. In this thesis, I explore how music affects people when undertaking mundane work related computing tasks by performing a series of experiments investigating how various dimensions of music affect transcription typing performance and experience. Some results were inconclusive with significant interactions followed by non-significant post hoc analyses, but nevertheless interesting themes emerged. Generally, music containing vocals compromised typing performance because it was more distracting than instrumental music. However, when played at a low volume performance was better with vocals in the music. This surprising result could be because vocals bring lower volume music to the attention of the typists so any effects caused by the rest of the music dominate, leading to overall performance improvements. Typing performance without music was similar to performance when accompanied by ambient music, possibly because the ambient music could fade into the background. In contrast, classical and rock music were more intrusive and rhythmically challenging, and negatively affected both performance and experience. Fast tempo 3/4 time music reduced typing accuracy when compared to almost all the other tempo and time signature manipulations. The frequency of the emphasized beats in this music was considerably higher than in the other conditions, which may explain why performance was particularly affected by this variation. The findings from these experiments may influence experiment design in this field. This thesis shows music is a complex, multifaceted stimulus which should be considered as multidimensional experiential gestalt. The approach of reducing music to isolated dimensions for manipulation is inappropriate. Further, the work has shown that manipulating tempo alone may be insufficient as the combination of time signature and tempo affects frequency of the emphasized beats, which can be important.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Computer Science (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.772932
Depositing User: Ms Anna Felicity Bramwell-Dicks
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 13:05
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23018

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