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Dr. Warren Brodsky and Music for Safer Driving

Dr. Warren Brodsky and Music for Safer Driving

November 7, 2013

Social Sciences & Humanities

Israel21C — Listening to music in the car affects the way you drive, but whether it’s Bach or Eminem doesn’t matter. The trick is to choose tunes that do not trigger distracting thoughts, memories, emotions or bopping along to the beat.

This takeaway from a BGU study was all over the Internet, U.S. news programs and international newspapers months before it appeared in the October 2013 edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Dr. Warren Brodsky

Dr. Warren Brodsky

The media attention has put lead researcher Dr. Warren Brodsky, director of music science research at BGU, in the limelight more than any of his previous findings in music cognition, and has illuminated his research path for possibly the rest of his working days. “It seems that every aspect of my career has led me down this path,”  says Dr. Brodsky.

The study was also notable in scientific circles because it was commissioned by the Israel National Road Safety Authority, making Israel the only country in the world to fund an investigation of how background music can put drivers at risk for distraction.

Dr. Brodsky had long been interested in this phenomenon, given that people in modern cultures listen to music more in their cars than anywhere else.

“I wondered how listening to music affects driving behavior, and how the car environment Research influences what kind of music we listen to,” he says.

The study even merited a mention on “Saturday Night Live.” Comedian Tina Fey satirically reported: “A new study shows that drivers who listen to fast tempo music while driving have more accidents, while drivers listening to slow music have sexier accidents.”

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