Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

We've all done it.

We've all got through high school and college doing it for hours every day.

We probably do it now more than we ever did, thanks to the nauseating invention of the open-plan office.

I am, of course, referring to using music to help us concentrate. 

Or, at the very least, to drown other office distractions such as people and skateboards.

It works, doesn't it? 

Large brains from the University of Central Lancashire, University of Gävle in Sweden and Lancaster University thought they'd see whether something most people accept is true is, in fact, scientifically provable.

They wanted to see whether music positively influenced creativity.

The results are discordant with human experience. Mine, at least.

Hark the sonorous words of Lancaster University's Dr Neil McLatchie:

We found strong evidence of impaired performance when playing background music in comparison to quiet background conditions.

Yes, he really did say impaired performance.  

The researchers tried background music with unfamiliar lyrics. They tried lyric-free music. They even tried lyric-laden music that you love.

In each case, they said, verbal creativity was dimmed. 

This was true even when the participants said the music positively influenced their mood.

There's worse.

The researchers concluded: 

The findings here challenge the popular view that music enhances creativity, and instead demonstrate that music, regardless of the presence of semantic content (no lyrics, familiar lyrics or unfamiliar lyrics), consistently disrupts creative performance in insight problem solving.

There's even worse.

The participants performed much better when they were subjected only to library noise.

I fear I've given ammunition to every office killjoy, every miserable, flatulent pedant who wants absolute quiet at all times.

I won't, though, accept these findings.

I'm convinced that Pink Floyd's Echoes encouraged and saw me through so many examinations of my ability to concoct creative nonsense.

Beethoven's Violin Concerto has undoubtedly been the actual creator of one or two Absurdly Driven articles. 

Surely you've noticed.

You'll tell me they could have been better without Beethoven's influence.

And I'll tell you that if I'd been merely subjected to library noises, you'd have been berating me on Twitter with very discordant words.

Published on: Mar 2, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.