Like Listening to Background Music? Here’s Why…

Like Listening to Background Music? Here's Why...
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Many people listen to music while carrying out a task — do laundry, homework, and even playing online poker.  Many of these people argue that background music helps them to focus.  

It is not clear why the brain likes music so much.  There is a specific spectrum of musical properties that the brain prefers.  There needs to be a medium level of syncopation in music to elicit a please response and associated body movement in individuals.  What that means in plain English is that music needs to be funky, but not too funky, for people to like it enough to make them want to dance.


Why would music help us to concentrate?  For all its amazing abilities, the brain hasn’t really evolved to take in abstract information or spend prolonged periods thinking about one thing.  We have two attention systems: a conscious one that enables us to direct our focus towards things we know we want to concentrate on, and an unconscious one that shifts attention toward anything our senses pick up that might be significant.

The unconscious one is simpler, more fundamental, and linked to emotional processing rather than higher reasoning.  It also operates faster. So when you hear a noise when you’re alone at home, you’re paying attention to it long before you’re able to work out what it might have been.  

The trouble is that while our conscious attention is focused on the task in hand, the unconscious attention system doesn’t shut down.  It is still online scanning for anything important in our peripheral senses. It is that pesky little “fight or flight” reaction that is leftover from our old hunter-gather days.  And if the task is boring, it will not take much of a distraction to take our minds away from the important, but boring task.  

So how does music help with concentration?

Music provides non-invasive noise and pleasurable feelings, to effectively neutralize the unconscious attention system’s ability to distract us.    However, it is not just a matter of providing any old background noise to keep distractions at bay.  

While the nature and style of music can cause specific responses in the brain (funky music compels you to dance, sad music makes you melancholy, motivational music makes you want to keep fit), some studies suggest that it really is down to personal preference.  The music you like increases focus, while music you don’t impedds it.

But it is not just any music that you like.  Bleak music will make you sad, and not want to do the task you are trying to do.  It is also not a good idea to play music with lyrics, because you are going to find yourself singing along to the lyrics and not focusing on the task at hand.  So music with catchy lyrics – out. Instrumental music – in.  

Specific music to concentrate on online casino games

Are you looking for a specific music playlist to help you concentrate better on your poker game?  If so, check out “Tales of a poker player” put together by Viktor Andrei (available on YouTube)

I am a music expert nor a poker expert, but I read the reviews on YouTube, they are all positive reviews.  “It’s actually a great length for a session. It works really well” “This was great song list start to finish”  “This is music to keep your mind calm, not be more aggressive”  

But at the end of the day, you have to like it and just as each song is unique, each person’s relationship with a song or song list is unique.

So check out the mix on YouTube and decide for yourself if you want to play it in the background the next time you are playing at an online casino or playing poker with friends on a Friday night.

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