Music has a huge influence on my thinking ability. The effect is far more immediate and noticeable than caffeine.

Some songs I really enjoy, but end up singing along with them, which slows me down. Other songs I find annoying, and the mental effort of blocking them out also slows me down.

White noise (even incredibly loud white noise, such as the 10 foot high, 30(?) foot long waterfall at a local mall) is about the same as total silence. White noise has the advantage of blocking out distracting sounds.

-- DavidCary?





Surgery teams orchestrate better when they listen to music, by Bruce Goldfarb 2004-03-30

Investigators found that surgeons showed lower signs of stress and performed tasks better when listening to their own choice of music. But when somebody else picks the tune, stress rises and performance drops.
"If surgeons get to choose the music, it works," says SUNY-Buffalo psychologist Karen Allen, who led the research. "If we played something else, they hated it. They don't like silence, either."