The Effects of Various Music Genres on the Reading Comprehension of Adolescents

by Lillia Edalat

Coauthors: Mentor: Dr. Maija-Riikka Steenari


Current literature shows that music can affect a student's ability to recall knowledge while studying. When learning while listening to music rather than in a quiet environment, students may do worse on reading comprehension assessments. This contradicts the widely accepted assumption that the "Mozart Effect" has a favorable impact on performance outcomes. Therefore, this study's goal was to investigate how different music genres, such as jazz, soft-rock, pop, and classical, affect adolescent (age 14-18) reading comprehension. In addition, we also investigated the correlation between music-listening habits and reading comprehension performance. Through quasi-experimental design, this study implemented a pre and post-test method. The methodology was comprised of four experimental groups, one per music genre. Participants were assigned based on their results to the Preferred Music Questionnaire (PMQ) to test the correlation between music-listening habits and accuracy. The pre-test portion consisted of 15 reading comprehension questions adopted from the Los Angeles Human Resources Department. During the pre-test, no background music was playing, while the post-test had the experimental group's assigned music genre playing in the background for different 15 questions at the same level of difficulty. To compute the results, this study compared the average percentages of the pre and post-test within each experimental group. The results provide information on the effects certain music genres have on accuracy. Outcomes show that listening to soft-rock, classical, and pop music causes a decrease in accuracy, while jazz music increases accuracy. Furthermore, there proved to be no significant correlation between participants' music-listening habits and performance. The implication of this study will help students discover effective study habits, improve reading comprehension capabilities, and minimize stress.