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Percept Mot Skills. 1995 Dec;81(3 Pt 2):1379-87.

An experimental test of "the mozart effect": does listening to his music improve spatial ability?

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Department of Educational Psychology and Statistics, State University of New York at Albany 12222, USA.


This experiment was designed as a test of the 1993 findings of Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky who reported a positive effect of listening to classical music on spatial reasoning. Present results do not demonstrate the "Mozart effect." In our study, 114 students were pretested on items from the Raven's Progressive Matrices--Advanced Form, then instructed to listen to either 8 min. of Mozart's music, relaxation instructions, or silence. Then subjects were posttested on an equivalent set of Raven's items. The subjects were also asked to provide information about their musical background and preferences. All instructions and treatments were audiotaped and played to individual subjects through earphones in the university language laboratory, ensuring standardization of procedures. Subjects in all 3 treatment groups showed a practice effect, but this improvement in Raven's scores was not dependent on the type of treatment received. There were no differences in Raven's scores among groups before or after treatment so our results do not confirm the prior ones. There was no evidence that the brief music had a different effect on subsequent problem solving according to listeners' musical background and training.

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