The Scientific Reason Video Game Soundtracks Can Make You More Productive

If you've spent a significant amount of time on social media, chances are you may have heard of this viral lifehack. It goes a little something like this: Listening to video game soundtracks while you work can help make you more productive because they are designed to help you focus while you play the game. While it may sound far-fetched, it turns out that there is actually a scientific reason why this works.

Research has found that music can either help you or hurt your focusing abilities depending on the type and genre. According to WebMD, music with lyrics can actually be distracting, hurting performance. Meanwhile, instrumental music has been shown to help people focus, and research suggests that classical music has a calming effect on those working in high stress jobs (via Florida National University). Since video game soundtracks are typically instrumental, they generally fit the bill for music that improves concentration. But is there any benefit to listening to video game soundtracks over other instrumental options?

Video game music is specifically designed to help you win

According to Orion Academy, video game music is created to help your brain focus on tasks, such as racing, fighting, solving puzzles, and more. This genre of music is intentionally designed for engagement in the task at hand. While part of the reason that video game music is so effective is due to the lack of lyrics, there are several other reasons why it is able to help you be more productive.

Video game soundtracks have been engineered to help increase your ability to focus using multiple techniques. In addition to having no lyrics, video game music tends to stay at a relatively low, constant volume. According to Popular Science, this prevents you from becoming distracted by sudden increases in volume. Another reason video game music helps with focus is because they are generally fast paced. While classical music has been known to help people relax, it might cause some people to react slower, potentially decreasing productivity (via The Healthy). 

You can improve your concentration by choosing soundtracks you're familiar with

In addition to choosing music designed to increase focus, like video game soundtracks, there are other ways you can use music to increase your productivity. According to a study published in Nature, listening to music you recognize can help increase your memory. This makes repeatedly listening to the same video game soundtrack could even help you remember things better, making it great for studying and remembering important info at work.

While video game soundtracks have been shown to be mentally stimulating, according to Head Stuff, how much music helps with increasing productivity will depend upon the person. The type of video game music you choose can also depend on the specific task you need to complete. Some people may find that puzzle solving music helps them, while others may prefer boss fight music. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of soundtracks to find what works best for you.