Using music to influence creative and critical thinking

Kevin Hilton, Cathy Lockhart, Annika Rodell, Bengt Rodell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Hilton was project manager and lead author of the research investigating the influences of listening to a range of music at varying volumes, upon creative and critical thinking. The study promotes the questioning of things often taken for granted; for example, that music in the design environment would aid creativity because it had been shown to aid production in factories. The authors conducted a number of tests to investigate the impact of music in a design environment, (each in their own countries, triangulating and validating the methodology), and found that because ‘design’ and ‘production’ are such different cognitive tasks, music is more likely to be a negative distraction to creative and critical thinking, or at least make no positive contribution. By increasing awareness about the effects of listening to music while working, the project impacted upon the working environments of a number of academic and commercial practitioners, including those involved n the project and those who attended the DRS conference. This study is unique in the fact that, other researchers investigating the influences of music, e.g. J. A. Sloboda, have focused only on the connections between music and emotion. No other research has studied the effect of music upon creative and critical thinking. The influence of factors on creative and critical thinking has been core to Hilton’s broader body of work: (2001) The Value of Humour in Concept Generation. 4th EAD Conference Averio, Portugal (2002) Towards a Designer Working Culture that Encourages Sleep and Dreaming. International Design Conference, Design-2002, Dubrovnik. Hilton has used conferences such as DRS, EAD, ICSID, TMCE as opportunities for developing research collaborations Attendees at ICSID 2003 in Hannover were the source of the collaborators for the DRS paper, including the University Technology Sydney and FIDU Hellfors, Sweden.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004
EventInternational Conference of the Design Research Society - Monash University, Australia
Duration: 20 Nov 2004 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Design Research Society
Period20/11/04 → …


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