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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 21;6:18744. doi: 10.1038/srep18744.

Mozart, Mozart Rhythm and Retrograde Mozart Effects: Evidences from Behaviours and Neurobiology Bases.

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Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation of Ministry of Education, Center for Information in Medicine, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, 610054.
School of Electronic Information Engineering, Yangtze Normal University, Fuling, Chongqing, 408100, China.


The phenomenal finding that listening to Mozart K.448 enhances performance on spatial tasks has motivated a continuous surge in promoting music education over the past two decades. But there have been inconsistent reports in previous studies of the Mozart effect. Here conducted was a systematic study, with Mozart and retrograde Mozart music, Mozart music rhythm and pitch, behaviours and neurobiology tests, rats and humans subjects. We show that while the Mozart K.448 has positive cognitive effects, the retrograde version has a negative effect on rats' performance in the Morris water maze test and on human subjects' performance in the paper folding and cutting test and the pencil-and-paper maze test. Such findings are further confirmed by subsequent immunohistochemical analyses in rats on the neurogenesis and protein levels of BDNF and its receptor, TrkB. Furthermore, when the rhythm and pitch of the normal and retrograde Mozart music are manipulated independently, the learning performance of the rats in the Morris water maze test indicated that rhythm is a crucial element in producing the behavioural effects. These findings suggest that the nature of Mozart effect is the Mozart rhythm effect, and indicate that different music may have quite different to opposite effects. Further study on rhythm effect may provide clues to understand the common basis over animals from rats to humans.

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