Mozart Effect In this assignment, you will read an article about the Mozart effect and identify various parts of the research process. This exercise will help you learn how to read a research article and to understand the research process. Read the following article: Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K. N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365. 6447: 611. (October 14, 1993). (ProQuest Document ID 76004658). In your article summary, respond to the following questions: State the research hypothesis in your own words. Identify the independent and dependent variables. What were some variables the researchers controlled in their study? Why was this necessary? What evidence do the researchers offer as a test of their hypothesis? Is this evidence empirical (observable)? Is it valid? What explanation do the researchers offer for their findings? Does the evidence justify this explanation? Read the following article: Jenkins, J.S. (2001). The Mozart effect. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 94, 170-172. Based on your readings, respond to the following: Do you think there is any merit in the study (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1993)? Give three reasons for your position. Does the study take individual differences in spatial ability into account? Explain your answer. What are two ways in which the experiment could be modified to make the results more generalizable?
The ‘Mozart effect’ was first reported on in 1993 by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, who asked individuals to listen to Mozart’s sonata for two pianos (K448) for 10 minutes, while others listened to either silence or relaxation audio designed to lower blood pressure.
The study found the subjects who listened to Mozart showed significantly increased spatial reasoning skills for at least 10-15 minutes.
The finding since led crèches in the United States to start playing classical music to children. The southern state of Georgia even started giving newborn babies a free classical CD shortly after the study came out.
The same study investigated the long-term effects of music on the brain, by giving a group of three to four-year-old children keyboard lessons for six months. At the end of training, their performance in a spatial-temporal reasoning test was 30 per cent better than that of children of a similar age who were given computer lessons for six months or no special training.
The young children’s increased spatial-temporal abilities lasted for 24 hours, in contrast to the initial Mozart-based experiment, the results of which only lasted for 15 minutes. According to the study, this result was down to the greater plasticity of the young brain, and the length of exposure to the music.
A separate test was later carried out on a group of rats in utero who were exposed to Mozart’s sonata for two pianos and minimalist music by Philip Glass, before being tested for their ability to find their way through a maze.
The Mozart group again completed the maze test significantly more quickly and with fewer errors than the Philip Glass group, suggesting that it might be the musical complexity of Mozart’s compositions that has a positive impact on people’s spatial reasoning.