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It is easier to chat at parties if you don't know the music playing

Background music is less distracting at parties if you are unfamiliar with the songs being played, according to brain activity data

By Jason Arunn Murugesu

24 November 2023

Music playing at parties can make it difficult to maintain conversations, particularly if you know the songs

skynesher/Getty Images

Background music at a party can be distracting when you are trying to have a conversation, but it may be easier to stay focused if the song playing is unfamiliar to you – and you are a musical person.

Jane Brown at the University of Memphis in Tennessee and her colleagues wanted to understand how background music affects how we follow conversations.

The team analysed the brain activity of 31 people, aged between 21 and…

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