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The Mozart Effect

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Danielle Emmons

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of The Mozart Effect

-The "Mozart Effect" refers to the specific claim that listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448 can improve the performance in spatio-temporal tasks
The Mozart Effect
- 34 participants took part in the study
- 13 males
- 21 females
- All were students from Oxford university
- mean age of 20

- 31 right handed, 2 left handed, 1 ambidextrous
-self reported
- Questionnaire was used to record personal info
(age, handedness, musical knowledge/ability)

Detection of the second target (T2) was
significantly more accurate when played normally

Suggests temporal component to the
"Mozart effect"

T1 Accuracy:
Comparisons between all 5 lags:
p < .006
Comparison between lags 4 and 5:

p = .759

T2 Accuracy:
Comparison between playing forwards vs. backwards
p = .048
Playing regularly vs. silent condition
p = .027

Knowledge/expertise had no
effect on performance


-First reported by Rauscher et al.
-Many researchers were unable to replicate Rauscher et al.'s findings and similar results could not be produced with composers similar to Mozart
-Those findings that do support the "Mozart Effect" have been between-subjects experimental designs
-Olivers and Nieuwenhuis reported that attentional blink (a unimodal visual temporal task) were completely eliminated when participants listened to a continuous beating tune as compared to a silent baseline
-Attentional blink (AB) refers to people's inability to detect the second of two targets presented in close succession
-AB typically lasts for 400 ms in normal participants
-AB that lasts much longer can be a sign of unilateral visual neglect
-It is important to note that Olivers and Nieuwenhuis's study was based on a between-subjects design
- The study consisted of 20 practice trials, followed by 3 blocks of 100 trials
-Block 1: K.448 Forward
-Block 2: K.448 Reverse
-Block 3: Silent

- Used E-Prime Software to present distractor letters and target among two target digits.

- I, O, Q, & S were omitted to avoid confusion with 1, 0, and 5.

- 2 through 9 were used as target digits
Methods (cont.)
Methods (cont.)
Mean T1 and T2 detection accuracy as a
function of Condition and Lag.

Error bars indicate the standard
errors of the means
- There was only statistical improvement in T2 identification when music was played normally.

- Possible explanation being an overall change in arousal modulated cognitive performance.

...instead of Mozart having a short-term effect on temporal processing.

- This explanation leads to further argument that listening to forward Mozart sonata leads to a more optimal level of arousal, allowing for selective attention.
- An increase in arousal from standard should show facilitation of T1 at any lag.

However, we don't see this.
- Separate study tested Mozart's Sonata
for Two Pianos vs. Bach's Goldberg Variations

To test for similar enhancement in temporal processing.
- Looking at T2 accuracy,
show results similar to overall,
show no statistical change and seem to perform at ceiling.
- Failed to show any statistical effect from listening to a different composer or another Mozart piece.
- Listening to Mozart's Sonata (forward) seems to only induce an arousal or mood change.

-Other studies have been conducted showing that mood changes do influence cognitive performance.

e.g. memorizing stimuli
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