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My science fair question is: How does music affect concentration? I have 4 questions.


Question 1. What is your Major?
Question 2. What type of music would be the most affective?
Question 3. Do you think my procedures are correct?
Step 1. Get 10 people.
Step 2. Get 10 groups of 10 mazes( same level mazes).
Step 3. Have each person do a maze one-by-one without music and time them.
Step 4. Repeat 5 times per person with a different set of mazes for each trial.
Step 5. Record observations and data.
Step 6. Have each person do a maze one by one with music.
Step 7. Repeat 5 times per person with a different set of mazes for each trial.
Step 8. Record observations and data.

Question 4. What is your prediction of the conclusion?

Thank you.
Answer 1:

Question 1. What is your Major?
I study cognitive psychology.

Question 2. What type of music would be the most affective?
For certain types of tasks, music with lyrics is more distracting than music without lyrics.

Question 3. Do you think my procedures are correct?
Step 1. Get 10 people
Step 2. Get 10 groups of 10 mazes( same level mazes).
Step 3. Have each person do a maze one-by-one without music and time them.
Step 4. Repeat 5 times per person with a different set of mazes for each trial.
Step 5. Record observations and data.
Step 6. Have each person do a maze one by one with music.
Step 7. Repeat 5 times per person with a different set of mazes for each trial.
Step 8. Record observations and data.

In this procedure you may have what is called a "practice effect." This is when one experimental group does better not because of the experimental manipulation but because they had more practice. In your procedure, it is possible that the people listening to music will solve the mazes faster because they just had practice completing 5 mazes. In order to eliminate the practice effect, you could give half of your participants the mazes with music first.

Question 4. What is your prediction of the conclusion?
This is an interesting question. The memory system that we use for this kind of concentration is called working memory. Working memory has two main parts for storage: one that stores information about space (this is called the visuospatial sketchpad) and one that stores information about sound (this is called the phonological loop). If neither of these parts is overloaded then they don't interfere with each other too much. In your case, the music would use the phonological loop and the maze would use the visuospatial sketchpad. It is possible that if the music is not too distracting then it would not affect the time it takes to finish a maze. If the music is very distracting, however, then it might make people take longer. One way to make the music very distracting is to ask people to sing along! Either way, I think you have a good project.



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