Influence of Music Intensity and Lyrics on Simulated Urban Driving

Costas Karageorghis, Garry Kuan, William Payre, Nick Reed, Andrew Parkes

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Previous work examining the effects of music on driving behaviour has seldom isolated musical characteristics from participants’ sociocultural and age-related music preferences. The present study incorporated several objective elements to establish the content of music conditions. We investigated the potentially distracting effects caused by processing of lyrics through exposing young drivers to the same piece of music with/without lyrics and at different intensities (60 dBA and 75 dBA) using a counterbalanced, within-subjects design (N = 34; Mage = 22.2, SD = 2.01 years). We compared six simulator conditions that comprised low-intensity music with/without lyrics, high-intensity music with/without lyrics plus two controls – ambient in-car noise and spoken lyrics. There was an omnibus main effect of condition for the NASA Task Load Index with step-down analyses indicating that, for Temporal Demand, a low-intensity with lyrics condition imposed lower demand than ambient in-car noise. Moreover, there were lower scores for Frustration in the music conditions when compared to spoken lyrics. For affective valence, the four music conditions yielded higher scores than control conditions. For affective arousal, the music conditions yield lower scores than in-car noise. There was no main effect of condition for HRV data, albeit a sex difference emerged for SDNN (men > women). Although some differences emerged in subjective outcomes, these were not replicated in HRV data, used as an objective index of emotionality. The most effective condition in terms of optimising mental state during urban driving was soft, non-lyrical music.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
    EventBrain. Cognition. Emotion. Music. Conference. - University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom
    Duration: 20 May 202021 May 2020


    ConferenceBrain. Cognition. Emotion. Music. Conference.
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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