We Can Work It Out: Why Listening To The Beatles Makes You More Productive At Work


They are one of the most productive songwriting partnerships of all time. And Lennon and McCartney can improve your working relationships too.

Their uplifting songs – such as Yellow Submarine – helps boost a person’s productivity as part of a team, research suggests.

However, heavy metal can make you more selfish, it was found.

The Cornell University researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that music effects a person’s cooperative spirits.

They carried out two studies, in which participants were grouped into teams of three. Each was given multiple opportunities to either contribute to the team’s value using tokens or keep the tokens for themselves.

When happy, upbeat music was played – either the ‘Happy Days’ theme song, 'Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison, 'Yellow Submarine’ by the Beatles or 'Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves – team members were more likely to contribute to the group.


Katrina and the Waves also had a positive effect

By contrast, heavy metal songs by less than well-known bands made participants more likely to keep tokens, Mail Online reports.

When happy, upbeat songs were played contribution levels to the public good were approximately one-third higher compared with when the less-pleasant music was played.

The paper, by Cornell researchers Kevin Kniffin, Jubo Yan, Brian Wansink and William Schulze, was published in he Journal of Organizational Behavior.

'Music is a pervasive part of much of our daily lives, whether we consciously notice it or not,’ said Kniffin, a behavioural scientist and lead author on the paper.

'Music might melt into the background in places like supermarkets or gyms and other times it’s very prominent like places of worship or presidential nominating conventions.

'Our results show that people seem more likely to get into sync with each other if they’re listening to music that has a steady beat to it.’

Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, said : 'What’s great about these findings, other than having a scientific reason to blast tunes at work, is that happy music has the power to make the workplace more cooperative and supportive overall.’