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The Mozart Effect: Fact or Fallacy? Taeko M. Frost What is the Mozart effect? “… the increase in brain development that occurs in children under age 3 when they listen to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart…” – Alfred A. Tomatis Improvements: health & medicine, spatio- temporal reasoning & IQ In the Media The Mozart effect has been a popular topic in print and broadcast media – Parenting – Education – Music publications Origin of Research on the Mozart Effect Frances Rauscher & Gordon Shaw of The University of California at Irvine Areas of Interest Brain development Health benefits Intelligence enhancement Brain Development Preliminary research based on the trion model of the cerebral cortex Research hypothesized that listening to Mozart “warms-up” neural transmitters in the cerebral cortex (Rauscher et al., 1993) Brain Development Increased EEG coherence (Rauscher, Shaw & Ky 1995) Increased correlation of neurophysiologic activity in the temporal and left-frontal cortexes (Sarnthein et al., 1997) Increased spatio-temporal ability after piano lessons (Rideout et al., 1996) Changes in amplitude of alpha rhythm and increased inter- hemispheric coherence (Rauscher, 1997) Brain Development The increases in spatio-temporal ability is due to the arousal from listening to the music (Steele, 2000; Thompson, Schellenberg & Husain, 2001) Increase in performance ability may be due to personal preference (Nantais & Schellenberg, 1999) Health Benefits Don Campbell leading Mozart Effect enthusiast – “The Mozart Effect : Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit” – Personal testimonials – Merchandise Zell Miller, Governor of Georgia – Designated money to provide all newborns with Mozart CD’s (Sack, 1998) Health Benefits If listening to Mozart’s music provides possible health benefits, why was Mozart himself so frequently ill? Based on anecdotal evidence Studies supporting the existence of the Mozart effect Spatial Ability Spatial ability is the ability to reason about visual scenes and is a basic dimension of human intelligence, clearly separate from verbal intelligence or general reasoning ability… Intelligence Enhancement 1993: Rauscher, Shaw and Ky conducted the first experiment to test the Mozart Effect – 36 undergraduate students – Paper folding and cutting task – Increased spatial ability after 10-15 minutes – 8-9 point increase in IQ using the Stanford Binet Results Intelligence Enhancement 1995: Rauscher, Shaw and Ky reproduced the effect – 79 undergraduate students – 3 groups Mozart Phillip Glass Silence – The Mozart group was the only group to show enhanced IQ scores Studies contradicting the existence of the Mozart effect Intelligence Enhancement 1995: Rauscher, Shaw and Ky conducted a further experiment to test the Mozart Effect – 28 undergraduate students – Paper folding and cutting task – Mozart Sonata for 2 pianos D Major vs. Listening to a story read aloud – No difference indicated personal preference Intelligence Enhancement 1993: Rauscher and Shaw conducted an experiment comparing Mozart and Pop music – 55 children (age 11-13) – Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D major vs. Pop – No main effect for music or test performance Intelligence Enhancement 1997: Steele, Ball and Ruck conducted a study that contradicted the presence of the Mozart effect – 36 students – 3 groups Mozart Rainfall Silence – Digit span task – No difference in the conditions Intelligence Enhancement Lois Hetland of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Attempted to replicate the Mozart effect – 1014 students – 3 groups – Mozart group performed better Could be explained by chance Gender, musical tastes and training, innate spatial ability, and cultural background Meta-analysis of 16 studies Intelligence Enhancement A meta-analysis of 16 studies carried out by Rauscher & colleagues concluded that IQ is enhanced by an average of 1.4 general points as measured using the Stanford-Binet IQ test (Chabris, 1999) Intelligence Enhancement Further analysis found that when spatial intelligence is assessed, there is a 2.1 increase in IQ (Chabris, 1999) This suggest that listening to Mozart increases spatial ability, NOT intelligence Intelligence Enhancement “Any cognitive enhancement is small and does not reflect any change in IQ or reasoning ability in general, but instead derives entirely from performance on one specific type of cognitive task and has a simple neuropsychological explanation…” -Chabris, 1999 Further questions There has been no study to date examining intelligence in infants and young children – Youngest group examined mean age was 11 years old (McKelvie & Low, 2002) Should the previous studies be considered occurrence of the “Mozart effect” by the definition of Tomatis? Further questions There has not been a study, to date, that has asked for demographics (e.g. ethnic background, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.) Do you think this is important? Graduate Studies University of Toronto – E. Glen Schellenberg – PhD Cognition, Perception and Cognitive Neuroscience Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California at Irvine – Dr. Frances Rauscher – PhD in Experimental Psychology M.I.N.D Institute, UC Davis – Dr. Gordon Shaw – PhD in Autism Research Appalachian State University – Dr. Kenneth Steele – PhD Learning/Experimental Analysis of Behavior References Chabris, C. F. (1999). Prelude or requiem for the 'Mozart effect'?. Nature, 400, 826-827. Hughes, J. R. (2001). The Mozart effect. Epilepsy & Behavior, 2, 396-417. McKelvie, P. & Low, J. (2002). Listening to Mozart does not improve children's spatial ability: Final curtains for the Mozart effect. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20, 241-258. Nantais, K. M., & Schellenberg, E. G. (1999). The Mozart effect: An artifact of preference. Psychological Science, 10 (4), 370-373. Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L, & Ky, K. N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365, 611. Rauscher FH, Shaw GL, Ky KN. Listening to Mozart enhances spatial–temporal reasoning: towards a neurophysiological basis. Neurosci Lett 1995;185:44 –7. Rauscher FH, Shaw GL, Levine LJ, Wright EL, Dennis WR, Newcomb RI. Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial–temporal reasoning. Neurol Res.1997;19:2– 8. Rideout, B. E. & Taylor, J. (1997). Enhanced spatial performance following 10 minutes exposure to music: A replication. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 85, 112-114. References Rideout, B. E., Dougherty, S., & Wernert, L. (1998). Effect of music on spatial performance: A test of generality. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 86, 512-514. Sack, K. (1998, January 15). Georgia's governor seeks musical start for babies. The New York Times, A-12. Sarnthein J, von Stein A, Rappelsberg P, Petsche H, Rauscher FH, Shaw GL. Persistent patterns of brain activity: an EEG coherence study of the positive effect of music on spatial–temporal reasoning. Neurol Res 1997;19:107–16. Steele, K. M., Ball, T. N., & Runk, R. (1997). Listening to Mozart does not enhance backwards digit span . Perceptual and Motor Skills, 84, 1179-1184. Steele, K. M., Bass, K. E., & Crook, M. D. (1999). The mystery of the Mozart effect: Failure to replicate. Psychological Science, 10 (4), 366-369. Steele, K. M., Brown, J. D., & Stoecker, J. A. (1999). Failure to confirm the Rauscher and Shaw description of recovery of the Mozart effect. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 88, 843-848. Steele, K. M. (2000). Arousal and mood factors in the "Mozart effect". Perceptual and Motor Skills, 91, 188-190. Thompson, W. F., Schellenberg, E. G., & Husain, G. (2001). Arousal, mood, and the Mozart effect. Psychological Science, 12 (3), 248-251. What do you think? Thank you!
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