Music and Intensity
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
WILKINS, M. J. (2007). Music and Intensity . National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 10. Available online at Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

Music and Intensity

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (
In this experiment I studied the effects of different types of music on intensity of playing video game in thirty-four participants. Intensity being measured by the score received after playing time. The independent variable was music including, the video game music, no-music, and popular rap music. Participants were asked to play a video game “Monkey Ball”, for play station 2 to assess the intensity of play during all three musical conditions. I hypothesized that participants will play at a higher intensity when listening to popular hip-hop music. There was no significant difference.

Music is the one thing that can’t be turned off or tuned out. Music can cause energy and excitement, or make a sad occasion a better one. Dorney and Goh (1992) suggest listening to music has been shown to influence emotional states. Music is what feelings sound like, change into and is a perfect compliment to a nice dinner, thrilling movie, or seemingly sinking party. The lyrics can change your thinking; the rhythm can encourage or discourage the will as the melody impacts the emotions. Low-pitched, repetitive sounds suggest fear. A single tone that gets louder and louder instills anxiety. Kettle drums provoke anger and a spill blast of high notes with a discordant blare or bas note will drive you to panic (Gard, 1997). The research on the subject provides support for music having a lot to do with individual’s emotions, thinking, mind changes, and even down to purchases. So does music really have an effect on functioning? Can it be said that music during video games or games at all can cause a person to do better or worse? What kinds of music would cause individual to play better during video games play? Does music have a lot to do with how the game is though about and played? Dornery and Goh (1992) studied the effects of music on physical performance and arousal. The participants listened to two kinds of music: Slow Classical & Moderate Rock (Fast), while playing a “memory game”. There was no significant level of change in heart rate according to the type of music played. The research found that slow classical music caused a slowed heart rate, while the fast music of course incited high rates of heartbeats. If music can change your physical make-up then it can also change your intensity to play any game. Smith and Morris (1997) studied the effects of music on anxiety, concentration, and performance. The two types of music studied were simulative (upbeats) and sedative (slow downbeats). The participants were asked to take a test listening to the music of their choice. The participants were than asked to remember a set of numbers listening to both kinds of music. The participants exposed to the sedative easy listening music did far better than exposed to stimulating music, and both groups did worse with no music group. Smith and Morris (1997) suggest that stimulating music is more distracting and inhibits cognitive processing more than non-stimulating music. There was another such study done by Hjortsberg (2007) a study on the different types of effects music has on cognitive process. There were three types of music used in this study, classical, moderate rock, and no music at all. The participants were asked to complete a “memory game”. The effects of this experiment were different than pervious because the no music group did the best on the “memory game”, task. The purpose of this study is having one independent variable with three levels, the Game Music, Popular Hip-Hop Music (rap) and No Music. The dependent variable is the intensity of the play (measured by game score). The hypothesis state that popular hip-hop music will show greater intensity of play than any other group with the game music group follows behind and the no music group being the worst. There is an attempt to show music can cause individuals to play harder.


Thirty-Four college students from Introductory Psychology Class of Missouri Western State University were used in this experiment. These men and women aged from 18-24 yrs of age. Some students received course credit for their participation. However, all students who participated did so, on a voluntary basis. The participants were divided up into groups of two. All groups participated in all three of the musical conditions.

The apparatus used for this experiment was a Sony Play station 2. The video game used “Monkey Ball”, and a Sony portable DVD player for playing CD’s. The music will be from three different groups, the video game music, the popular hip-hop CD of various artists all upbeat sounds and no music at all.

This was an experimental study which involved a single independent variable with three levels in a between subjects design. The independent variable was the music. The three levels were game music, popular hip-hop music and no music at all. The dependent variable was the level of intensity that was based on the score after playing each separate condition. The participants listened to the same songs in their perspective groups with the popular hip-hop music going in random order; also each group played the three conditions in random order to account for extraneous variable that may have come up. The volume level on each of the two musical conditions were the same, the playing time of each condition was five minutes. Once the participants arrived in the research room they were given a practice run to familiarize themselves with the game, and an adequate explanation of how the experiment was going to work. The participants played three times under the three musical conditions, their scores were recorded. An vague description of the reasons for the experiment were given and then the experiment was concluded. The vague reasons were given in order to protect the validity of the study.

This study used a one-way ANOVA statistical analysis. Using this technique, we concluded. A one-way repeated measure ANOVA was calculated comparing the game score of the subjects to the three different kinds of music: Game music, Popular Hip-Hop music, and No music. No significant effect was found (F (2,64)=.157, p>.05). No significant difference exist among game music (m=24298.030, sd=1677.740), no music (m=27456.970, sd=2518.772), and popular hip-hop music (m=28127.485, sd=8427.919) means.

We hypothesized that participants would have a higher level of intensity of play while playing the game with the Popular Rap Music, and the worst group would be the none musical group. We failed to find support for this hypothesis, the ANOVA was not significant. There was no preference of musical groups between the participants either. When designing this experiment we believed that popular rap music would cause the most intensity but it seemed to cause the biggest distraction. We also believed that the no music condition would cause the participants to do better in the level of intensity but there was no significant difference. These finding may have been a result of listening levels, previously exposed to the music, prefer style of music not being played and not having played the Play Station before. It could also be said that more males more familiar with video games and may play them more often. This experiment in order to be run again most account for volume levels, and preferred music groups, it may be that if a person is exposed to music they like it would cause greater intensity. In order to run this again, there should also be a two different kinds of games that can measure the score a game that most males have not been exposed to already as well as a game that a female who is not use to playing video games can play as well. There were a few flaws in the study in that we did predict at all that a people won’t get a score at all. There were several scores of zero, also the television the game was played on was to small, and there were no written instructions to the participants on how to play the game just verbal. In just the fixing of these few things I do believe we could have a more significant study.

Dornry, L. & Goh, E.M. (1992) The impact of music and imagery on physical performance and arousal: Studies of coordination and endurance. Journal of Sports Behavior, 15, 13-21.Gard, C. (1997) Music n’ Moods [Electronic Version]. Current Health, 23, 24.Hjostberg, W.R. (2007) The effects of different types of music on cognitive processes. Department of Psychology:, C.A., & Morris, L. W. (1997) Differential effects of stimulative and sedative music on anxiety, concentration, and performance. Psychological Reports, 41, 1047-1053

Submitted 4/26/2007 12:45:39 PM
Last Edited 4/26/2007 12:56:07 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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