Date of Publication
Dr. Stacy Birch, Associate Professor, Psychology
The current study seeks to understand how background music affects reading comprehension depending on the personality of the individual. According to Eysenck’s theory of personality, extraverts perform better with high levels of outside stimuli compared to introverts. So far, support for this theory has been unclear. This could be because the tasks participants are being asked to complete are too easy, resulting in little competition between mental resources. In order to better understand whether or not task difficulty is important, this study uses both easy and difficult reading conditions. Participants listened to Alternative/Rock music with lyrics while reading easy or difficult reading passages, and then answered comprehension questions to the best of their ability. Based on previous research, the study hypothesized that in the easy reading condition introverts and extraverts would have similar scores, but for the difficult reading condition extraverts would perform better than introverts. There were no significant results for the interaction between extraversion and reading difficulty, however, a pattern did emerge to support this hypothesis. In addition, studying habit was measured to reveal that scores for participants who regularly listen to music while studying were not significantly different from scores of participants who do not regularly listen to music while studying. This was true for both easy and difficult reading passages.
Holmes, Abigail, "Level of Extraversion and its Impact on Reading Comprehension in the Presence of Background Music" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 242.