Can concept maps attenuate auditory distraction when studying with music?


There is some research indicating that the presence of music adversely impacts academic task performance. While most of this research involves individuals reading text passages, few studies have explored how graphical representations contribute to the auditory distraction literature. The aim of our study was to investigate if concept maps, a graphical representation that depicts relations among concepts, and linear text differentially affect recall when they are studied in the presence of music. Participants studied a preconstructed concept map or text summary while listening to verbal or nonverbal music. Results indicated that participants who studied the concept map with verbal music recalled significantly more ideas than those who studied the text summary. This result was particularly robust for those with low to moderate prior knowledge in the domain being studied. These findings suggest that the novel structure of concept maps may induce greater concentration, which could provide protection against auditory distraction.

Publication Title

Applied Cognitive Psychology