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Exp Psychol. 2013;60(2):71-9. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000166.

The joys of spring.

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Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


This study used Vivaldi's Four Seasons, an extraordinary example of program music, to explore the consequence of music exposure on cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs). Seventeen participants performed a three-stimulus visual odd-ball task while ERPs were recorded. Participants were required to differentiate between a rare target stimulus (to elicit a memory updating component; P3b), a rare novel stimulus (to elicit a novelty attention component; P3a), and a frequent nontarget stimulus. During task performance participants listened to the four concertos: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in comparison to a silent control condition. Additionally, the three movements of each concerto have a fast, slow, fast structure that enabled examination of the impact of tempo. The data revealed that "Spring," particularly the well-recognized, vibrant, emotive, and uplifting first movement, had the ability to enhance mental alertness and brain measures of attention and memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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