Background Music in Educational Games: Motivational Appeal and Cognitive Impact

Background Music in Educational Games: Motivational Appeal and Cognitive Impact

Stephanie B. Linek (Leibniz Centre of Economics, Germany), Birgit Marte (University of Graz, Austria) and Dietrich Albert (University of Graz, Austria)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1864-0.ch016
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Abstract

Most game-designers likely stick to the assumption that background music is a design feature for fostering fun and game play. From a psychological point of view, these (intuitive) aspects act upon the intrinsic motivation and the flow experience of players. However, from a pure cognitive perspective on instructional design, background music could also be considered to be redundant information, which distracts from learning. The presented study investigated the influence of background music (present vs. not present) within an educational adventure game on motivational (intrinsic motivation, experienced flow) and cognitive variables (cognitive load, learning success). The results suggest a high motivational potential of background music. However, neither positive nor negative effects on learning were detected. Thus, background music can be considered as a motivating design element of educational games without negative side-effects on learning.
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Theoretical Background

The presented study concentrates on two main aspects of background music: On the one hand the motivational appeal of background music is investigated and on the other hand the cognitive impact of background music is disputed. Accordingly, the theoretical section is twofold: First, the relevant theories and findings on the motivational appeal of background music are explored. Second, the cognitive impact of background music is disputed from a theoretical perspective. Based on the presented theoretical considerations, the section closes with the derived research questions of the presented investigation.

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