Music is a part of most human’s everyday lives, but in what specific ways does it affect humans? One study showed that music has a direct effect on human behavior, emotion, and cognition (Schellenberg, 2005). This study aimed to find out how music effects human cognition. The theory that this study was based on is Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) from Dr. Albert Bandura, which follows the belief that a person’s ability to learn, and their cognitive functioning, can be heavily influenced by their environment. This of course has an effect on said person’s behavior, which is the outcome (Bandura, 1989, pg. 1175). Additionally, the study was founded on the biblical passage 1 Samuel 16:14-23 (English Standard Version) when God uses David’s playing of the Lyre to drive away a harmful spirit from King Saul.
A mixed methods approach was used to examine how background music effected college students’ abilities on a flash mathematics assessment. Forty Students from Truett McConnell University were administered a math assessment without listening to music. The same students took a similar math assessment while listening to music. The results of the study showed statistical significance between the control group (no music), and the group with background music. The results showed that students who answered questions versus the same students answering the math questions correctly was statistically significant. In addition, there was a statistically significance found where students who listened to music performed better on the administered math assessment.
Keywords: music, social cognitive theory, mathematical assessment, academic achievement, mixed methods.
Dalton Gore is a student in the Leonhart Schiemer School of Psychology and Biblical Counseling program. He is expected to earn a bachelors degree in Psychology 2021.