It’s bad news for the guys who like to listen to rock music while playing board games. Researchers from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music tested 352 volunteers playing Operation while listening to music. Men listening to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC made on average 29 percent more mistakes than those listening to either Mozart (Andante from Sonata for Two Pianos) or the sounds of a typical operating theater. The rock music also slowed the subjects’ performance—by about 23 percent for a fixed set of tasks—whether they reported enjoying the music or not.
Women volunteers were not significantly affected by either of the music choices and were generally found to take longer but make fewer mistakes.