BACKGROUND: Music can be an ergogenic aid to exercise performance, and can also impact fine motor skill task performance. Some evidence suggests loud and intrusive music interferes with attention and focus, while other evidence suggests soft music may positively impact task performance, such as surgical skills in physicians. However, studies of music generally focus on tempo and lyrics rather than volume alone. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether music volume has an effect on speed and accuracy of fine motor skill performance. METHODS: n=22 college-age males and females (20.9±0.6 yrs; 67.4±4.1 in; 158.1±38.6 lb) provided informed consent and participated in this study. Participants visited the laboratory for a single visit in which they completed four tasks (typing, domino stacking, Operation board game, and Rubik’s connector snake) under three conditions (loud, soft, and no music). Order of the 12 total trials was counterbalanced. Participants selected their own preferred, single song that was >120 bpm in tempo. Their chosen song was then played via a 12-inch external speaker at loud (85 dB) or soft (65 dB) volumes during the tasks. Typing was conducted using an online typing program that assessed speed and accuracy of a 60-s typing task. Domino stacking required the participant to use 30 dominoes to build a tower following a picture sample provided to participants. Score was calculated as total stacked - total collapsed in three minutes. Participants also were timed on their ability to successfully complete 12 “operations” utilizing the board game Operation, which requires removing anatomical parts using tweezers without touching a pre-determined perimeter around the area. Scores were calculated using total successful - total unsuccessful operations. Rubik’s connector snake puzzle was performed by familiarization of each participant at the beginning of the visit to the puzzle where they watched a video explanation of the puzzle being completed (i.e. turning the snake into a cat) and were permitted to practice as many times as they wished. Participants then were timed on their ability to convert the snake into a cat shape. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare motor skill performance on the four tasks when listening to loud, soft, and no music. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in typing speed (p=0.97), typing accuracy (p=0.97), dominoes score (p=0.25), successful operations score (p=0.72), or time to complete the Rubik’s puzzle (p=0.42) among the three conditions. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that music volume neither positively nor negatively impacts fine motor skill performance. Thus, people should choose if and at what volume to listen to background music during fine motor task performance based upon preference alone.

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