A study of how tempo in music affects reading comprehension when consuming written news on a smartphone

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS); KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: This study examines how tempo of background music affects reading comprehension when consuming written news on a smartphone. It has taken inspiration from a study conducted in 2002 which investigated how tempo in music affects reading comprehension when reading news on a pocket computer in a distracting environment. There is a rapidly growing use of smartphones and with this an increasing use of both news applications and music streaming services. Therefore, especially in a time where the reliability of certain news is being discussed, it is interesting to examine if there is any correlation between the music we listen to and how we comprehend news. Two instrumental music samples, which could be described as of the electronic pop genre, were created with the tempo being the only difference between them. Participants got to read two articles from the business section on a smartphone with either no background music or one of the two samples playing in headphones. After each article, a questionnaire with five true or false questions regarding the contents of the articles was answered. A final questionnaire regarding the participants experience of reading news on smartphones and listening to music and prior knowledge of the contents of the articles was then presented to the subject. The results indicate that a slower tempo improves reading comprehension and efficiency. However, no significant differences between the experimental conditions were found.

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