The effects of background music on video game play performance, behavior and experience in extraverts and introverts

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Levy, Laura M.
Catrambone, Richard
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For many, listening to music is an enjoyable experience pursued throughout one’s lifetime. Nearly 200 years of music psychology research has revealed the various ways music listening can impact human emotional states, as well as cognitive and motor performance. Music in video games has come a long way from the first chiptunes of 1978 to the full scores written specifically for games today. However, very little is understood of how background game music impacts game performance, behavior and experience. Even less is known for how music variables might affect performance, behavior and experience by individual differences, such as personality type. In this study, 78 participants scoring in the top 30% for their age range of either extraversion or introversion played a cognitive-training game in four music conditions (silence, low tempo, medium tempo, and high tempo). Performance, game play behavior, and flow experience scores were analyzed for each music condition by level of extraversion. While no statistically significant differences were found in game performance scores by level of extraversion, there were statistically significant differences found for play behavior (physical mouse motions) and flow experience for the music conditions. These results suggest that music can both alter the nature of physical game inputs and also provide a more engaging game experience, while not necessarily impacting one’s ability to perform in a game.
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