Listening to upbeat music can have positive effect on the cooperative spirits of individuals working as a team, according to a new study.
In the study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, researchers described two studies they conducted to test the effect of different types of music on the cooperative behaviour of individuals working as a team.
For each study, participants were grouped into teams of three where each team member was given multiple opportunities to either contribute to the team’s value using tokens or keep the tokens for personal use.
When happy, upbeat music was played like “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison or “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, team members were more likely to contribute tokens to the group’s value.
When music deemed unpleasant was played — like heavy metal songs by less than well-known bands, participants were more likely to keep tokens for themselves. The researchers found that contribution levels to the public good when happy, upbeat songs were played were approximately one-third higher compared to the less pleasant music.
When researchers conducted a second experiment testing how people react when no music is played, the results were the same. The researchers concluded that happy music provokes people to more often make decisions that contribute to the good of the team.
“Our results show that people seem more likely to get into sync with each other if they’re listening to music that has a steady beat to it. What’s great about these findings, other than having a scientific reason to blast tunes at work, is that happy music has the power to make the workplace more cooperative and supportive overall,” said Kevin Kniffin, researcher at the Cornell University in the US.
The researchers suggested that starting the day with this simple consideration in mind could result in happier employees and more teamwork.