The effects of music choice on task performance: A study of the impact of self-selected and experimenter-selected music on driving game performance and experience
Cassidy, G. & MacDonald, R. (2009). The effects of music choice on task performance: A study of the impact of self-selected and experimenter-selected music on driving game performance and experience. Musicae Scientiae 13(2), 357-386.
Music listening in everyday life tends to accompany the completion of other everyday activities in a highly personalised manner. However, music and task performance studies have tended to be experimenter-centred and contextually isolated, largely independent of the listener s music practices and preference. The present study adopted a listener-centred approach to compare the effects of self-selected and experimenter-selected music (high and low arousal), on concurrent activity performance and experience. 125 participants completed three laps of a driving game in either (i) silence (ii) car sounds alone; car sounds with the addition of (iii) self-selected music, (iv) High-Arousal music or (v) Low-Arousal music. Three performance measures (accuracy-collisions, time-ms, and speed-mph) and 5 experience measures (distraction, liking, appropriateness, enjoyment, and tension-anxiety) were taken. Participants exposed to their self-selected music were most efficient, perceived lowest distraction, highest enjoyment, liking and appropriateness, and experienced a reduction in tension-anxiety. In contrast, performance and experience were poorest when exposed to High-Arousal experimenter-selected music. Participants were most inaccurate, perceived highest distraction, lowest liking, enjoyment and appropriateness, and experienced an increase in tension-anxiety. Collectively, the findings highlight the efficacy of self-selected music as a tool to optimise response in the everyday activity context for which it is selected. Accordingly, the results are discussed in relation to potential implications for the performance and experience of concurrent tasks such as video games. Additionally, the discussion highlights theories of attention-distraction, arousal and affect modification, and subjective experiences of music listening. ...