A musical mystery
Why is it that music can help us concentrate and avoid distraction?
Iíd forgotten this until recently. I now understand again why so many people wear headphones while they work. What I donít get is why music has this effect.
A hypothesis is that when we lose our focus, our brain searches for something to fill the attention gap. Often, it does this by changing the focus of attention to some other distracting activity. If music is playing, perhaps we distract ourselves with that, as the nearest attention filler. After a few moments, our original focus begins to return, and we can pull ourselves away from the music, especially if it is relatively undemanding of attention. I don’t know of a good way to test this hypothesis.