Effect of background music in a computer word processing task

Arijit K. Sengupta, Xiaopeng Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The relaxing effect of music has been shown to reduce stress induced subjective anxiety and improve the performance of stressful cognitive tasks. OBJECTIVE: This experimental study evaluated the effect of music and induced mental load in a word processing task in terms of correct strokes and accuracy, typing force, variability of typing force and EMG (electromyography) of extensor digitorum muscle. METHODS: Eight subjects participated in the study. A 2 × 2 repeated measure design was adopted, with or without background music, and with or without induced mental load. A computer algorithm detected the shift, drift and fidget patterns of finger and hand movements, which caused the variation of the typing force. RESULTS: Although the overall typing productivity was compromised by music by 3.1%, the beneficial effect of music was the reduction of standard deviation of typing force by 23.2%, indicating a smoother or less erratic hand movement during typing. CONCLUSIONS: The behavior change by music resulted in reduction in hand motions during typing may reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorder related to typing task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalOccupational Ergonomics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 9 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


  • EMG
  • Keyboard
  • force variability


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