This study examined the effects of music tempo and task difficulty on the performance of multi-attribute decision-making according two alternative perspectives: background music as the arousal inducer vs. the distractor. An eye-tracking based experiment was conducted. Our results supported the arousal inducer perspective that, with the same level of decision time, participants made decisions more accurately with the presentation of faster than slower tempo music. Further, faster tempo music was found to improve the accuracy of harder decision-making only, not that of easier decision-making. More interestingly, our exploratory analysis on eye fixations found the occurrence of adaptive behavior, namely, that the search pattern of participants became more intra-dimensional under the faster tempo music as compared with the slower tempo music. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.