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Exposure to music and cognitive performance: Tests of children and adults



This article reports on two experiments of exposure to music and cognitive performance. In Experiment 1, Canadian undergraduates performed better on an IQ subtest (Symbol Search) after listening to an up-tempo piece of music composed by Mozart in comparison to a slow piece by Albinoni. The effect was evident, however, only when the two pieces also induced reliable differences in arousal and mood. In Experiment 2, Japanese 5-year-olds drew for longer periods of time after singing or hearing familiar children’s songs than after hearing Mozart or Albinoni, and their drawings were judged by adults to be more creative, energetic, and technically proficient. These results indicate that (1) exposure to different types of music can enhance performance on a variety of cognitive tests, (2) these effects are mediated by changes in emotional state, and (3) the effects generalize across cultures and age groups.
Exposure to music and
cognitive performance:
tests of children and adults
Psychology of Music
Psychology of Music
Copyright © 2007
Society for Education, Music
and Psychology Research
vol 35(1): 5‒19 [0305-7356
(200701) 35:1; 5‒19]
ABSTRACT This article reports on two experiments of exposure to music and
cognitive performance. In Experiment 1, Canadian undergraduates performed
better on an IQ subtest (Symbol Search) after listening to an up-tempo piece of
music composed by Mozart in comparison to a slow piece by Albinoni. The effect
was evident, however, only when the two pieces also induced reliable differences
in arousal and mood. In Experiment 2, Japanese 5-year-olds drew for longer
periods of time after singing or hearing familiar children’s songs than after
hearing Mozart or Albinoni, and their drawings were judged by adults to be more
creative, energetic, and technically proficient. These results indicate that (1)
exposure to different types of music can enhance performance on a variety of
cognitive tests, (2) these effects are mediated by changes in emotional state, and
(3) the effects generalize across cultures and age groups.
KEYWORDS: cognition and emotion, cognitive ability, intellectual ability, Mozart
effect, music and cognition, music listening
The impact of music on listeners’ emotional state is well documented (e.g.
Gabrielsson, 2001; Husain et al., 2002; Krumhansl, 1997; Peretz, 2001;
Schmidt and Trainor, 2001; Sloboda and Juslin, 2001; Thayer and Levenson,
1983; Thompson et al., 2001), as is the effect of emotional state on
participants’ performance on a wide variety of cognitive measures.
According to Russell’s (1980) circumplex model of emotions, emotions vary
in two-dimensional space, with one dimension corresponding to arousal (or
activation) and the other to mood (or valence). Arousal refers to degree of
physical and psychological activation or to the intensity of the felt emotion,
whereas mood indicates whether the emotion is positive or negative. Both
arousal (Anderson and Bushman, 2001; Cahill and McGaugh, 1998;
Caldwell et al., 2004; Cassady and Johnson, 2002; Dutton and Carroll, 2001;
Husain et al., 2002; Lyvers et al., 2004; Thompson et al., 2001) and mood
(Grawitch et al., 2003; Husain et al., 2002; Isen et al., 1992; Khan and Isen,
1993; Thompson et al., 2001; for reviews see Ashby et al., 1999; Eich and
Forgas, 2003; Isen, 1999) have robust effects on cognition.
The arousal and mood hypothesis (Thompson et al., 2001) proposes that
when music listening affects cognitive abilities, such effects can be attributed
to changes in listeners’ arousal or mood (see also Hallam et al., 2002).
Whereas musical tempo seems to be associated primarily with arousal (i.e.
faster tempi are more arousing than slower tempi), musical mode is a better
predictor of mood (i.e. major and minor modes evoke happiness and sadness,
respectively; Husain et al., 2002). Associations linking tempo and arousal to
cognition are likely to be more robust than those linking mode and mood to
cognition. Tempo varies continuously and infinitely (at least in principle),
whereas mode is dichotomous. Effects of tempo on emotional evaluations of
music also emerge earlier in development than those of mode (Dalla Bella et
al., 2001). Moreover, tempo variations are universal, whereas the major–
minor distinction is specific to Western music. As such, listeners can use
tempo (but not mode) to decode the emotions conveyed by music from foreign
cultures (Balkwill and Thompson, 1999; Balkwill et al., 2004).
The arousal and mood hypothesis provides a framework for understanding
and explaining the so-called ‘Mozart effect’. The effect refers to enhanced
performance on spatial–temporal measures after listening to music composed
by Mozart compared to control conditions that involve sitting in silence or
listening to relaxation instructions (Rauscher et al., 1993). The authors
(Rauscher and Shaw, 1998; Rauscher et al., 1995) explain the effect as a
consequence of cross-modal priming between unrelated domains (i.e. music
composed by Mozart and spatial–temporal abilities; for a review see Hetland,
2000), a claim that is at odds with the priming and neuropsychological
literatures (Schellenberg, 2003). By contrast, the arousal and mood
hypothesis posits that the Mozart effect is neither specific to music in general
(let alone Mozart in particular), nor to tests that measure spatial–temporal
abilities (i.e. those ‘involving mental imagery and temporal ordering’,
Rauscher, 1999: 827).
In line with this perspective, ‘Bach’ (Ivanov and Geake, 2003), ‘Schubert’
(Nantais and Schellenberg, 1999), and ‘Yanni’ (Rideout et al., 1998) ‘effects’
have also been reported. Moreover, when listening to Mozart is compared
with an engaging but nonmusical auditory stimulus (e.g. a narrated story),
the effect disappears (Nantais and Schellenberg, 1999). Rather, participants
perform better on a cognitive test after listening to their preferred stimulus
(Mozart or story). When the comparison condition involves listening to
Albinoni’s Adagio (a slow, minor key piece often played at funerals), the
Mozart advantage on a subsequent cognitive test proves to be a consequence
of changes in listeners’ arousal levels and mood (Thompson et al., 2001). The
Mozart sonata used in most experiments (e.g. Husain et al., 2002; Nantais
6Psychology of Music 35(1)
and Schellenberg, 1999; Rauscher et al., 1993, 1995; Steele, Bass et al.,
1999; Thompson et al., 2001) is a relatively fast-tempo piece in a major key.
The present investigation provided further tests of the arousal and mood
hypothesis and its ability to account for the Mozart effect. In two experiments,
we examined whether beneficial side effects of music listening on cognition
extend to tests that do not measure spatial–temporal abilities. In Experiment
1, Canadian adults completed one of two subtests from the Wechsler Adult
Intelligence Scale–Third Edition (WAIS-III, Wechsler, 1997) after listening to
the Mozart or Albinoni pieces used by Thompson et al. (2001). One subtest
was a speeded test of pattern-matching abilities, the other a test of working
memory. The tempo (fast) and mode (major) of the Mozart piece were likely to
make it more arousing and pleasant than listening to Albinoni (Husain et al.,
2002; Thompson et al., 2001). According to the arousal and mood
hypothesis, if the pieces evoke differential emotional responding (i.e. in
arousal and/or mood), we should also find evidence of a Mozart advantage
on one or both of the IQ subtests.
In Experiment 2, we tested the creative abilities of Japanese 5-year-olds
after they were exposed to classical music (Mozart or Albinoni) or to familiar
children’s music (listening or singing). Our goals were to test three predic-
tions motivated by the arousal and mood hypothesis. One was to examine
whether effects of exposure to music on cognition generalize to listeners from
a different culture and age group. The second goal was to examine whether
such effects would generalize to tests of creativity. Although creativity is
typically considered to be an aspect of complex cognition (e.g. Sternberg and
Ben-Zeev, 2001), our measures of creativity differed markedly from IQ
subtests (e.g. the WAIS-III subtests used in Experiment 1, the paper-folding-
and-cutting subtest from the Stanford-Binet IQ test used in previous
research). The third goal was to examine the specific type of musical
experiences that enhance cognition. We assumed that songs written
specifically for young children would be more likely than classical music to be
optimally arousing and pleasant for this age group, and that singing familiar
children’s music might be as effective as listening in this regard. Thus, we
expected that the best performance on the creativity measures would follow
exposure to familiar children’s music.
Experiment 1
Experiment 1 was similar in design to that of Thompson et al. (2001) except
that the cognitive tests did not measure spatial–temporal abilities. Under-
graduates listened to music composed by Mozart or Albinoni and
subsequently completed one of two IQ subtests. Arousal and mood were
measured before and after music listening.
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 7
Forty-eight Canadian undergraduates (77% women) who were registered in
an introductory psychology course participated in exchange for partial
course credit. The students were young adults 18 to 23 years of age from a
variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds (European: 54%; East Asian:
15%; Hispanic: 13%; South Asian: 11%; African: 4%; Middle Eastern: 2%)
that mirrored the make-up of the local community.
Apparatus, stimuli, and measures
Participants were tested in a sound-attenuating booth. They wore high-
quality stereophonic headphones (SONY MDR-P1) while sitting in front of an
iMac computer. The music consisted of 10 minutes of an up-tempo piece
played in a major key (Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K 448), or 10
minutes of a slow piece written in a minor key (Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor
for Strings and Organ). The music was excerpted from commercial recordings
available on compact disk and stored digitally as CD-quality sound files.
Arousal and mood were measured with the Profile of Mood States – Short
Form (POMS; McNair et al., 1992). The scale has six subscales; as in Thompson
et al. (2001), our interest was limited to two of these (Vigor–Activity – a
measure of arousal, and Depression–Dejection – a measure of negative mood).
The cognitive tasks were two subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence
Scale – Third Edition (WAIS-III; Wechsler, 1997). They were selected because
both could be adapted easily for computer presentation but neither measured
spatial–temporal (nor spatial) abilities. One was Symbol Search, a speeded
pattern-matching task that is one of two subtests used to derive the
Processing Speed index score of the WAIS-III. Respondents were asked to
complete as many items as possible within 2 minutes. For each item, they
identified (i.e. YES or NO) whether either of two target symbols (on the left
side of the monitor) was present in a horizontal array of five symbols (on the
right side). The number of correct responses minus the number of incorrect
responses was converted to a standard score that is normed according to age
(M= 10, SD = 3).
The other subtest was Letter–Number Sequencing, one of three subtests
that form the Working Memory index score of the WAIS-III. On each trial,
participants saw an alternating sequence of letters and numbers presented in
the center of the monitor (one per second). Their task was to recall the
sequence by typing it in a rearranged order: the numbers in ascending order
followed by the letters in alphabetical order. For example, if the sequence was
R-6-B-3, the correct response was 3-6-B-R. The task became progressively
harder, with the easiest level having two items on each of three trials and the
most difficult level having eight items. The number of correct responses
(excluding those made after the participant had three errors on a single level)
was converted to a standard, age-normed score (M= 10, SD = 3).
8Psychology of Music 35(1)
Participants were tested individually on two occasions separated by no more
than one week. On each occasion, they completed a paper-and-pencil version
of the POMS. They then entered the booth where they heard 10 minutes of
music, followed immediately by one of the two cognitive tests. After exiting
the booth, they completed the POMS again.
The music was the Mozart piece on one occasion and the Albinoni piece
on the other. The cognitive task was Symbol Search on one occasion and
Letter–Number Sequencing on the other. Music order (Mozart then Albinoni
or vice versa) and test order (Symbol Search then Letter–Number Sequencing
or vice versa) were counterbalanced.
The first set of analyses examined changes in arousal and mood as a function
of music listening (Mozart or Albinoni). We used one-tailed tests because we
had specific, directional hypotheses that were supported by the results of a
previous study (Thompson et al., 2001). Difference scores (post-music minus
pre-music) were calculated separately for the Vigor–Activity (arousal) and
Depression–Dejection (mood) subtests, and for the first and second test
sessions (see Figure 1). Independent-samples t-tests revealed that the mood
measure exhibited a small but reliable difference due to music listening at the
first test session, t(46) = 1.89, p= .033, η2= .07. As shown in Figure 1,
Depression–Dejection scores increased after listening to Albinoni but
decreased after listening to Mozart. There was no effect of music listening on
arousal during the first session (see Figure 1; Vigor–Activity scores decreased
in both conditions). Perhaps the unfamiliarity of the testing environment
interfered with effects of the music manipulation on arousal in this instance.
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 9
FIGURE 1Mean difference scores on the arousal and mood measures in Experiment 1.
Vigor–Activity Depression– Vigor–Activity Depression–
Dejection Dejection
First session Second session
*Significant effect of music listening (one-tailed tests).
Error bars are standard errors.
Mean difference score
At the second test session, both the mood measure, t(46) = 1.75, p= .043,
η2= .06, and the arousal measure, t(46) = 2.77, p= .004, η2= .14, varied
reliably as a function of the different music-listening experiences. Depression–
Dejection scores increased after listening to Albinoni but decreased after
Mozart, whereas Vigor–Activity scores increased as a consequence of
listening to Mozart but decreased after Albinoni (see Figure 1).
The next set of analyses examined scores on the IQ subtests as a function
of music listening (see Figure 2). Because arousal and mood differed at the
second session but only mood varied reliably at the first session, cognitive
differences between conditions were expected to be stronger at the second
session compared to the first. Indeed, neither Symbol Search nor Letter–
Number Sequencing scores varied as a function of music listening at the first
session. At the second session, Symbol Search scores were higher after
listening to Mozart than after listening to Albinoni, t(22) = 2.75, p= .012
(two-tailed), η2= .26, but there was no effect for Letter–Number Sequencing.
A previous study (Steele et al., 1997) also found that there was no
enhancement of working memory after participants listened to Mozart.
In sum, when differences in arousal and mood were evident as a
consequence of music listening (second session), a reliable difference on one
of two IQ subtests was also evident. When there was only a small difference
in mood but no effect on arousal (first session), there were no differences in
cognitive abilities. These findings have important ramifications for the
arousal and mood hypothesis. First, they suggest that subtle contextual
differences may moderate effects of music listening on arousal more than on
mood. They also indicate that some cognitive tests may be more susceptible
10 Psychology of Music 35(1)
FIGURE 2Mean standard scores on the IQ subtests in Experiment 1.
Symbol Letter–Number Symbol Letter–Number
Search Sequencing Search Sequencing
First session Second session
*Significant effect of music listening (two-tailed test).
Error bars are standard errors.
Mean score
than others to influences of arousal and mood. Finally, they provide evidence
that cognitive byproducts of music listening depend more on arousal than on
mood, as suggested earlier. Alternatively, such byproducts may be more likely
when music listening evokes simultaneous changes in arousal and mood
rather than a change in either arousal or mood.
Experiment 2
In Experiment 2, the participants were 5-year-old Japanese children and the
outcome variables were measures of creativity. At an initial session to establish
baseline measures of creativity, each child was asked to make a drawing. After
a musical experience, the children made a second drawing. Two groups of
children drew after listening to the Mozart or the Albinoni piece used in
Experiment 1. A third group heard familiar children’s songs before they drew.
A fourth group sang familiar songs before drawing. The outcome measures
included drawing times and adults’ ratings of creativity, energy, and technical
proficiency for the children’s drawings (see Loveland and Olley, 1979).
Although there is no self-report measure of arousal and mood that can be
used with young children, the results of Experiment 1 and earlier studies made
it relatively safe to assume that any observed links between music listening
and cognition would be mediated by arousal and mood.
The participants were 39 5-year-old Japanese children (13 boys, 26 girls)
from two kindergarten classes. An additional three children were recruited
but excluded from the final sample because of lack of interest in the drawing
task (n= 2) or conflict with another child (n= 1). A subgroup of 9 to 11
children was selected randomly to draw after they had listened to Mozart (n=
11), Albinoni (n= 10), or familiar children’s songs (n= 9), or after they had
sung familiar songs (n= 9). Eighteen female undergraduates – who were
blind to group membership – volunteered to rate the children’s drawings.
Apparatus, stimuli, and measures
The children were tested in classrooms at the kindergarten they attended. In
two of the listening sessions, the recorded music consisted of one of the two
pieces from Experiment 1 (Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ;
Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K 448 – a different recording of the
same piece). In the familiar-listening session, the music comprised 16
children’s songs from commercially available recordings (see Table 1) that the
children had learned to sing at school. The children’s songs had Japanese
lyrics but they were all in Western major keys with a regular metrical
structure. Two of these 16 songs were sung by the children in the familiar-
singing session (see Table 1).
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 11
TABLE 1Children’s songs used in the familiar-listening session in Experiment 2
(English translation in parentheses)
Ashita-wa-hareru (Tomorrow will be a fine day)*
Yakiimo-no-uta (Baked potato song)*
Panda, usagi, koala (Panda, rabbit, koala)
Hoshi-no-Carnival (Carnival of the stars)
Fushigi-na-pocket (Mysterious pocket)
Kobutanukitsuneko (Little pig, raccoon, dog, fox, and cat)
Kon-kon-kushan-no-uta (Sneezing song)
Ookina kuni-no kino shita de (Under a tree in a big country)
Zo-san (Elephant)
Ice cream no uta (Ice cream song)
Tyoo-tyo (Butterfly)
Tulip (Tulip)
Koinobori (A carp streamer)
Tombo-no-megane (Dragonfly’s glasses)
Matsu bokkuri (A pinecone)
Donguri-korokoro (Acorns rolling down)
*Songs used in the familiar-singing condition.
Recordings were played on a portable CD player (AIWA CSDSR520) at a
comfortable volume. A piano was used to accompany the children when they
sang. Drawing times were measured with a handheld stopwatch.
Each child made an initial baseline drawing that did not follow a musical
experience, and a second drawing after one of the four musical experiences.
An assistant recorded drawing times in both sessions. In the initial (baseline)
session, children were provided with paper and 18 crayons after having
lunch with their classmates (no music). They were asked to draw anything
they wanted. Music sessions were scheduled subsequently, each separated by
2 or 3 days.
After each music session, a subset of children was selected randomly to
draw for a second time. In the first session, children heard the Mozart piece
presented repeatedly for an hour while they ate lunch with their classmates.
In the second session, children heard Albinoni for an hour during lunch. In
the third session, one of the two kindergarten classes sang two familiar songs
for 20 minutes after lunch while a teacher provided piano accompaniment
and an experimenter (the fourth author) sang along. The other class heard
16 children’s songs for an hour during lunchtime in the third session, and
sang two familiar songs in a fourth session.
The adult raters were required to compare the two drawings (baseline and
12 Psychology of Music 35(1)
music) from each child on each of three different scales (creativity, energy,
and technical proficiency). For each scale, the rater was asked to provide a
rating of 1 if the drawing on their left was substantially more creative (or
energetic or technically proficient) than the one on their right, and a rating of
6 if the drawing on their right was substantially more creative (or energetic
or technically proficient). Hence, the ratings were difference (or comparison)
scores. Picture location (baseline/left-music/right or vice versa) and order of
the 39 children’s drawings were randomized separately for each rater.
Ratings were reverse coded when the music drawing was on the left so that
ratings were comparable across children and raters, with higher numbers
representing higher ratings for the music drawing compared to baseline.
For each outcome measure, the principal analytic strategy was to compare
the four groups of children with analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by
planned orthogonal contrasts (classical vs familiar music, listening to
fast–major vs slow–minor classical music, singing vs listening to familiar
music). The first set of analyses examined drawing times. For each child, we
calculated a difference score (music condition minus baseline, see Figure 3).
Preliminary one-sample t-tests revealed that drawing times increased reliably
from baseline after listening to familiar music, t(8) = 3.99, p= .004, and after
singing familiar music, t(8) = 7.56, p< .001. Drawing times did not increase
for children who heard Albinoni or Mozart. Time spent drawing varied
reliably across conditions, F(3, 35) = 4.59, p= .008, η2= .28, with greater
increases in the two familiar-music conditions than in the two classical-music
conditions, F(1, 35) = 8.55, p= .006. The two familiar-music conditions did
not differ, nor did the two classical-music conditions.
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 13
Note: Error bars are standard errors.
FIGURE 3Mean increase in drawing times in Experiment 2.
Mozart Albinoni Familiar Familiar
listening singing
Mean increase(s)
The next set of analyses examined adults’ ratings of the children’s
drawings (see Figure 4). For each adult, four creativity scores were formed,
each representing the average rating calculated separately for each of the
four groups of children. Four energy scores and four technical proficiency
scores were formed identically. Creativity ratings varied across the four
conditions, F(3, 51) = 19.27, p< .001, η2= .53, as did energy ratings, F(3,
51) = 25.59, p< .001, η2= .60, and technical proficiency ratings, F(3, 51) =
13.47, p< .001, η2= .44. In each case, ratings were higher for drawings
from the familiar-music compared to the classical-music conditions, as
predicted (for creativity, energy, and technical proficiency, respectively,
Fs(1, 17) = 42.58, 78.57, and 37.13, ps < .001). An advantage for Mozart
over Albinoni was also evident for creativity ratings, F(1, 17) = 6.34, p=
.022; the same advantage was marginal for energy ratings (p= .063) but
non-significant for technical proficiency ratings. Presumably, when evident,
the Mozart advantage was a consequence of its faster tempo. The two
familiar-music conditions did not differ on any of the three rating scales.
In sum, compared to children who drew after hearing Mozart or Albinoni,
children exposed to familiar songs had longer increases in drawing times
relative to baseline. Moreover, their post-music drawings were considered by
adults to be more creative, energetic, and technically proficient. The results
also indicated that listening to familiar songs and singing them are similarly
effective in enhancing creativity among young children.
14 Psychology of Music 35(1)
Creativity Energy Technical Proficiency
Mean Adult Rating
Familiar Listening
Familiar Singing
Error bars are standard errors.
Scores above or below the scale midpoint (3.5) indicate higher ratings for the music or baseline
drawings, respectively.
FIGURE 4Mean creativity, energy, and technical proficiency ratings made by adults of the
children’s drawings in Experiment 2.
Familiar listening
Familiar singing
Mean adult rating
Creativity Energy Technical proficiency
General discussion
In these two experiments, we found evidence that effects of music listening
extend beyond measures of spatial–temporal ability. In Experiment 1,
Canadian adults listened to music composed by Mozart or Albinoni and
subsequently completed an IQ subtest. When the listening experience led to a
difference in arousal and mood (favouring Mozart), a parallel difference on
an IQ subtest was also evident (favouring Mozart). These findings are
consistent with the proposal that music-enhanced cognitive performance is a
byproduct of arousal and mood. They also refute suggestions of a special link
between listening to Mozart and spatial–temporal abilities. Although the
results indicate that some cognitive tests are more influenced by exposure to
music than others, spatial–temporal status is not a prerequisite for such
effects to emerge.
The results of Experiment 2 indicated that cognitive enhancement after
music listening extends to tests of creativity, and that such enhancement
depends on the match between the music and the listener. Specifically,
Japanese 5-year-olds were asked to make drawings either after listening to
classical music or after hearing or singing familiar children’s songs. Each
measure of creativity (i.e. drawing times; adults’ ratings of creativity, energy,
and technical proficiency) revealed better performance after the familiar
songs compared to the classical recordings. In other words, cognitive effects
of exposure to music extended to young Asian children and tests of creativity,
and generalized across modality of exposure.
The present findings help to explain previous failures to replicate the
Mozart effect (e.g. Carstens et al., 1995; Hallam, 2000; McCutcheon, 2000;
McKelvie and Low, 2002; Newman et al., 1995; Steele et al., 1997; Steele,
Bass et al., 1999; Steele, Brown et al., 1999; Steele, Dalla Bella et al., 1999;
Stough et al., 1994), which are as common as successes (e.g. Husain et al.,
2002; Ivanov and Geake, 2003; Nantais and Schellenberg, 1999; Rauscher
et al., 1993, 1995; Rideout et al., 1998; Rideout and Taylor, 1997;
Thompson et al., 2001; Wilson and Brown, 1997; for reviews, see Chabris,
1999; Hetland, 2000). First, our results suggest that the effect is somewhat
ephemeral. In Experiment 1, music listening led to reliable differences in
arousal, mood, and cognitive performance on participants’ second visit to the
laboratory; only mood differences were evident on their first visit. Second, in
many studies (e.g. Steele, Dalla Bella et al., 1999), undergraduates are tested
as groups in classroom settings, where interpersonal dynamics could play a
role while students are listening to Mozart or sitting in silence. Specifically,
these dynamics (e.g. students rolling their eyes, giggling) could influence the
emotional state of the participants directly, or interfere with changes in state
that might otherwise result from music listening. Third, in McKelvie and
Low’s (2002) study of 12-year-olds (see also Hallam, 2000), the lack of an
effect of listening to Mozart on a spatial–temporal task may have stemmed
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 15
from the music and task – both less than ideal for this age group. In some
instances, relatively fast-tempo classical music may indeed be more
emotionally stimulating for children than slow music (Experiment 2) or
silence (Ivanov and Gleake, 2003), but our results indicate that age-
appropriate music is more effective in this regard.
To conclude, there is no merit to the claim of a link between listening to
music composed by Mozart to the exclusion of music by other composers,
and spatial–temporal abilities to the exclusion of other cognitive abilities.
Similar effects are generated by other forms of music (as well as nonmusical
stimuli), and the effects can be explained by mediating effects of arousal and
mood. The present findings clarify that such effects extend to cognitive tests
without spatial–temporal status, and across participants who differ in age
and cultural background. The Mozart effect is simply one example of the
many ways that emotional state influences cognitive processing.
Supported by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We
thank Umi class at Aokata kindergarten for their cooperation and participation,
Sandra Trehub for thoughtful advice, and Toshiko Nakamura, Kinuyo Mori, Junko
Yoshida, Miki Hamada, Kana Matsuo, and Emi Terada for assistance with data
Albinoni, Tomaso Giovanni Adagio in G Minor for Organ and Strings. Recorded by
Philharmonie, Berlin, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. On Adagio-Karajan [CD].
Tokyo: Deutsch Grammophon – Polydor (1995).
Mozart, Wolfang Amadeus Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 (K. 375a).
Recorded by Murray Parahia and Radu Lupu. On Music for Piano, Four Hands [CD].
London: Sony Classical (1992).
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 (K. 375a).
Recorded by Martha Argerich and Alexandre Rabinovitch. On Mozart Sonatas
[CD]. Tokyo: Warner Music Japan (1994).
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E. GLENN SCHELLENBERG obtained his doctorate in psychology from Cornell
University. He is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto.
Address: Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga,
Mississauga, ON, Canada, L5L 1C6. [email:]
TAKAYUKI NAKATA completed doctoral studies in psychology at Texas Christian
University and postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto. Currently, he is
Associate Professor of Psychology at Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University in Japan.
Address: Department of Psychology, Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University, 235
Mitsuyama-machi, Nagasaka-shi, Nagasaki-ken, 852-8559, Japan. [email:]
PATRICK G. HUNTER obtained his master’s degree from the University of Toronto,
where he is currently completing doctoral studies in psychology.
Address: as E. Glenn Schellenberg. [email:]
SACHIKO TAMOTO is currently a master’s student in clinical psychology at Nagasaki
Junshin Catholic University in Japan, where she received her bachelor’s degree in
Address: 1542-8 Aokata-go, Shinkamigoto-cho, Minamimatsuura-gun, Nagasaki-
ken, 857-4404, Japan. [email:]
Schellenberg et al.: Exposure to music and cognition 19
... Perhaps the most important factor that supports cognitive development in music education is teacher qualifications. In addition to the knowledge of the needs of music education and the child's cognitive development, teachers should be well educated especially in the use of musical instruments and materials [24]. ...
... He stated that in the next process, the child should be able to sing nursery rhymes and songs and discover sounds and instruments ( [8]. In a study conducted on 5-year-old Japanese children, it was determined that music increases children's cognitive performance [24]. In another study, it was revealed that musical education given to children improves their spatial and temporal thinking skills [4] As we approach today, an increasing number of studies reveal that music education, starting from early childhood, significantly supports academic and social success [20]. ...
... He also emphasized that cognitive performance may increase as a result of the improvement of the general mood with the effect of music. Schellenberg, Nakata, Hunter, and Tamoto, [24] showed that the cognitive performance of 5-year-old children with different music genres can be increased. In the longitudinal study by Costa-Giomi [6], it was revealed that children who started music education before the age of 5 got significantly higher scores in spatial skills than children who started later or did not receive an education. ...
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There are many genetic and environmental factors that affect cognitive development. Music education can also be considered as one of the environmental factors. Some researchers emphasize that Music is an action that requires meta-cognitive functions such as mathematics and chess, and supports spatial intelligence. The effect of music on cognitive development in early childhood was examined with the proposed decision-making method. Alternative methods and techniques can be used to support cognitive development. The Pythagorean Fuzzy Sets(PFS) method defined by Yager was used in this study. This method is used to manage uncertainty in real-world decision-making problems. In this study, PFS was created from experts' opinions on the subject. An algorithm was given according to PFS. This algorithm has been implemented. The effect of music on cognitive development in early childhood education was examined according to the opinions of the experts with the algorithm. The results of the algorithm supported the data of the experts on the development of spatial-temporal skills of music education given in early childhood. In algorithm, ranking is done with Expectation Score Function. Expert opinions were ranked according to real-life. The rankings obtained from the algorithm overlap with the experts' rankings.
... Desde una óptica general, en las tres últimas décadas se ha puesto de manifiesto que el uso de la canción en el aula mejora aspectos como la memorización (Schellemberg et al., 2007) o la motivación (Crookes & Schmidt, 1991;Falioni, 1993;Fonseca & García, 2010;Murphey, 1990). De igual modo se ha considerado que este recurso musical es una de las herramientas idóneas para trabajar contenidos no musicales (Pascual, 2006;López, 2007;Martín, 2010;Gul & Bozkaya, 2015;Muñoz, 2019). ...
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Resumen El presente trabajo analiza el uso de la canción como herramienta didáctica en el ámbito de la Educación Primaria, para ello se realizó un estudio con un total de 128 maestros y maestras generalistas de Educación Primaria (22,7% mujeres) en activo de la Comunidad de Castilla y León en España, y sin una formación musical específica. El objetivo fundamental fue conocer las herramientas musicales que utilizan en sus clases (especialmente la canción) según los años de experiencia docente. Los resultados principales vislumbran que la música como herramienta transversal es altamente valorada por los maestros generalistas en consonancia con otras investigaciones, aunque existen diferencias relevantes en el uso de la canción según los años de experiencia docente, siendo los veteranos los que más uso hacen de la misma. Por último, se analizan las causas que han podido influir en la minoración del uso de la canción como recurso didáctico-tradicionalmente considerado de gran utilidad y efectividad-y se proponen algunas medidas para potenciarlo. Palabras clave Música; canción; educación primaria; recursos educativos.
... Rhythm, music, and audio stimuli, in general, are used by humans to improve cognitive performances and enhance moods while studying or in social gatherings [10][11][12][13]. A new type of audio stimulus is binaural beats. ...
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Introduction: Binaural beats (BBs) are phantom sound illusions perceived when two sounds of slightly different frequencies are separately transmitted to the ears. It is suggested that some BB frequencies might entrain the brain and enhance certain cognitive functions such as working memory or attention. Nevertheless, studies in this regard are very scarce, quite controversial, and merely covering a very small portion of this vast field of research (e.g., testing only a few BB frequencies), not to mention adopting some limited methodologies (e.g., no assessment of the loudness of the BB sound, adopting only between-subject analyses, and testing only one perceptual modality). Hence, we aimed to assess the potential effects of alpha, beta, and gamma BBs on cognitive-behavioral parameters of working memory and attention examined simultaneously in two different modalities (visuospatial and auditory-verbal). Methods: This within-subject five-arm randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial included 155 trials in 31 healthy right-handed subjects (17 women, 14 men, 30.84 ± 6.16 years old). Each subject listened to 8-minute sessions of 10 Hz, 16 Hz, and 40 Hz binaural beats versus 240 Hz pure tone and silence (in random orders). In each 8-minute block, they played a dual 2-back task with feedback enabled. Their cognitive-behavioral parameters (working memory capacities, signal detection measures (hit rate, false alarm rate, sensitivity, and response bias), and reaction speed measures (response time and intrasubject response time variability)) were calculated. The effects of the sound interventions and short-term training on these working memory and attention measures were assessed statistically using mixed-model linear regressions, repeated-measures ANOVAs and ANCOVAs, Bonferroni post hoc tests, and one-sample t-tests (α = 0.05). Results: The following are some major statistically significant findings (P ≤ 0.05): In the visuospatial modality, the 10 Hz BB reduced the response time and intrasubject response time variability and reduced the extent of decline over time in the case of visuospatial working memory, sensitivity, and hit rate. In the auditory-verbal modality, the 10 Hz intervention reduced the hit rate, false alarm rate, and sensitivity. The 10 Hz intervention also caused the lowest intermodality discrepancies in hit rates and false alarm rates, the highest response time discrepancies, and negative discrepancies in working memories and sensitivities (indicating the superiority of the visuospatial modality). The response biases tended to be liberal-to-neutral in the verbal modality and rather conservative in the visuospatial modality. Reactions were faster in the visuospatial modality than the auditory-verbal one, while the intrasubject variability of reaction times was smaller in the auditory-verbal modality. Short-term training can increase the hit rate, working memory, and sensitivity and can decrease the false alarm rate and response time. Aging and reduced sound intervention volume may slow down responses and increase the intrasubject variability of response time. Faster reactions might be correlated with greater hit rates, working memories, and sensitivities and also with lower false alarm rates. Conclusions: The 8-minute alpha-band binaural beat entrainment may have a few, slight enhancing effects within the visuospatial modality, but not in both modalities combined. Short-term training can improve working memory and some cognitive parameters of attention. Some BB interventions can affect the intermodality discrepancies. There may be differences between the two modalities in terms of the response speeds and intrasubject response time variabilities. Aging can slow down the response, while increasing the volume of audio interventions may accelerate it.
This study examined how music major and non-music major participants’ performances and emotional expressions differed when exposed to background music of varying tempi while completing a reading comprehension task. Two questions were addressed: (1) What effect does background music of varying tempi have on the performance of music and non-music majors while completing a reading comprehension task? and (2) What real-time expressed emotions and self-report measures may predict the reading comprehension scores between music and non-music majors? A total of 34 participants completed a reading comprehension task under each of three musical test conditions while facial-muscular emotion software analyzed their facial expressions, to understand the effect on performance. Results indicated that music majors displayed significantly different ( p < .05) emotional expressions of joy and contempt, which corresponded to no significant differences in performance scores, in comparison to non-majors, whose performance varied greatly across the background music test conditions that were given. These findings support the growing literature surrounding the possible effects of music training and how differences between trained and non-musicians may be understood through emotion detection software.
An increase in the vividness of mental imagery can enhance the persuasive appeal of advertisements. To examine the effects of sensory imagery enriched by smelling (olfactory) and tasting (gustatory) in online video-based advertisements, we adopted multi-method empirical investigations to validate our conceptions. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) and survey data collected from 166 customers provide strong support for the research model. Results show that, in rational advertising contexts, consumers’ olfactory senses were triggered, and both arousal and pleasure from the emotions affected their attitudes, which in turn influenced word-of-mouth (WOM) and purchase intentions. In emotional advertising contexts, the olfactory and gustatory senses were both triggered, and only pleasure affected their attitudes, which in turn influenced WOM and purchase intentions. By understanding the neurocognitive mechanisms and perceptual effects of sensory imagery, the insights gained from this study may benefit designers and marketers in implementing more effective marketing strategies.
Research evidences the ability of music listening to transiently improve performance on creative cognition. However, the mechanism for cognitive improvements as a result of music listening is still contested. Research has asserted that three networks neatly map onto the well-known theory of blind variation and selective retention (BVRT); the default mode, cognitive control, and salience networks (SNs). This study investigates the activation in these networks after participants listen to music that has previously been shown to increase creative cognition. Using 128-channel high-density array, we measured resting state electroencephalography (EEG) in 26 participants before and after listening to the 2011 single “Can’t Hold Us.” Findings demonstrate that activation is increased in the default mode, cognitive control, and SNs, as indicated by increases in spectral frequency power for whole-brain beta, parietal theta, and whole-brain gamma. Here, we find support for the idea that music might facilitate creative cognition by activating networks deemed important in the creative process, providing novel methodology for investigating network activation in a creative cognition framework using resting state EEG.
The present study aims to examine the effect of emotional state on creative self-efficacy through the lens of social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1997), which posits that affective state is an important personal source of creative self-efficacy. An experimental study was conducted to illustrate the roles of emotion induction in creative self-efficacy. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups: a positive emotion induction group (n = 223), a negative emotion induction group (n = 223), and a control group (n = 222). Emotional state and creative self-efficacy were assessed with the Affect Grid and the Creative Self-Efficacy subscale in the Short Scale of Creative Self (SSCS[CSE]), respectively. Lending support to social cognitive theory, our findings illustrate that emotional state significantly accounted for 15-21% of the variance in creative self-efficacy. Enriching the discourse of social cognitive theory, our findings further reveal the significant roles of both dimensions of emotional state (i.e., arousal and valence) in predicting creative self-efficacy. The findings highlighting the facilitating role of moderately aroused positive affect in creative self-efficacy respond to the call for research related to the positive psychology movement, which is an important trend that seeks to improve human functioning by promoting positive affect and human characteristics.
First introduced by Frances Raucher, The Mozart Effect is the idea that there is a transient impact of music listening on spatial‐temporal processing. Researchers have found considerable merit to investigate the phenomena. The field has moved beyond the original claims of the Mozart Effect, with the arousal−mood hypothesis as one dominant interpretation. The hypothesis postulates that a modest increase in performance while listening to pleasant, energetic music is understood as a transient consequence of changes in mood and arousal. Therefore, the “Mozart Effect” can influence learning outcomes. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of music through the arousal‐and‐mood hypothesis by using the Stroop task. Subjects were randomly assigned to three conditions Mozart (positive), rock (negative), or no music (control). While working on the stroop task. Participants in all three conditions were assessed with an accuracy score. The results showed that both positively and negatively arousing music enhanced test scores. My study showed that both classical music and rock music had an effect in my experiment. Further studies should be explored if the enhanced cognitive ability can be used for therapeutic purposes. 1. The only study that measures accuracy through the Stroop test. 2. Statistically significant results where types of music affect test scores through Stroop test. 3. Implications could be used for therapeutic purposes. The only study that measures accuracy through the Stroop test. Statistically significant results where types of music affect test scores through Stroop test. Implications could be used for therapeutic purposes.
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Using recent regional brain activation/emotion models as a theoretical framework, we examined whether the pattern of regional EEG activity distinguished emotions induced by musical excerpts which were known to vary in affective valence (i.e., positive vs. negative) and intensity (i.e., intense vs. calm) in a group of undergraduates. We found that the pattern of asymmetrical frontal EEG activity distinguished valence of the musical excerpts. Subjects exhibited greater relative left frontal EEG activity to joy and happy musical excerpts and greater relative right frontal EEG activity to fear and sad musical excerpts. We also found that, although the pattern of frontal EEG asymmetry did not distinguish the intensity of the emotions, the pattern of overall frontal EEG activity did, with the amount of frontal activity decreasing from fear to joy to happy to sad excerpts. These data appear to be the first to distinguish valence and intensity of musical emotions on frontal electrocortical measures.
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The current study examined the effect of mood and autonomy in problem definition on the idea-generating performance of temporary workgroups. Groups (N=54) were randomly assigned to a mood (positive vs neutral) and autonomy (high vs low) condition and asked to brainstorm ways to improve university student life. It was found that positive mood increased the originality of ideas and that problems that provided low autonomy led to a greater number of ideas. Mood and autonomy interacted to affect group satisfaction. Furthermore, positive mood led to the identification of more important domains for improvement in the high-autonomy condition. Implications for future research using temporary problem-solving groups are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
A basic issue about musical emotions concerns whether music elicits emotional responses in listeners (the 'emotivist' position) or simply expresses emotions that listeners recognize in the music (the 'cognitivist' position). To address this, psychophysiological measures were recorded while listeners heard two excerpts chosen to represent each of three emotions: sad, fear, and happy. The measures covered a fairly wide spectrum of cardiac, vascular, electrodermal, and respiratory functions. Other subjects indicated dynamic changes in emotions they experienced while listening to the music on one of four scales: sad, fear, happy, and tension. Both physiological and emotion judgments were made on a second-by-second basis. The physiological measures all showed a significant effect of music compared to the pre-music interval. A number of analyses, including correlations between physiology and emotion judgments, found significant differences among the excerpts. The sad excerpts produced the largest changes in heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance and temperature. The fear excerpts produced the largest changes in blood transit time and amplitude. The happy excerpts produced the largest changes in the measures of respiration. These emotion-specific physiological changes only partially replicated those found for non-musical emotions. The physiological effects of music observed generally support the emotivist view of musical emotions.
In this experiment musical scores were added to the soundtrack of an industrial safety film that has often been used as a stressful stimulus in psychophysiological research. Two musical scores were composed in accordance with contemporary film scoring techniques in an attempt to increase and decrease the stressfulness of the film. Subjects viewed one of three versions of the film: (a) the film with no music (control condition), (b) the film with "horror" music (increase condition), and (c) the film with "documentary" music (decrease condition). Physiological responses (cardiovascular, electrodermal, and somatic) were monitored continuously while subjects viewed the film; a report of subjects’ perceived anxiety level was also obtained. Results indicated that the film scores were successful in both increasing and decreasing electrodermal responses to the film, compared to the control condition. These results are seen as providing preliminary experimental support for the efficacy of musical scores for manipulating the stressfulness of films.
ABSTRACT This study found some evidence for the existence of a Mozart Effect with upper-primary school-aged children in a school setting. Scores on a Paper Folding Task (PFT) for a class which listened to Mozart during testing were significantly higher than the PFT scores of a control class. Moreover, a similar result was obtained for another class which,listened to Bach during testing. The musical educational experience of the children, ascertained by a Musical Background Questionnaire, did not significantly contribute to the variance in PFT scores. Webelieve that this study is the first to find a Mozart Effect for school children in a natural setting, in contrast to the original study of Rauscher, Shaw and Ky(1993) who,examined,the effects of listening to Mozart on the spatial task performance,of university students in a laboratory. KEYWORDS : music listening, spatial performance
Research on the effects of background music has a long history. Early work was not embedded within a theoretical framework, was often poorly conceptualised and produced equivocal findings. This paper reports two studies exploring the effects of music, perceived to be calming and relaxing, on performance in arithmetic and on a memory task in children aged 10-12. The calming music led to better performance on both tasks when compared with a no-music condition. Music perceived as arousing, aggressive and unpleasant disrupted performance on the memory task and led to a lower level of reported altruistic behaviour by the children. This suggests that the effects of music on task performance are mediated by arousal and mood rather than affecting cognition directly. The findings are discussed in relation to possible practical applications in the primary school and the home.
In order to clarify the conditions under which material rewards have a detrimental effect upon children's later interest in the rewarded task, the effect of a reward for drawing was measured with 24 preschool children. The children were grouped as high or low in initial interest on the basis of observation of time spent drawing, and half the children in each group were given an expected reward for drawing, while the other half received no reward. Time spent drawing and "quality" of drawing were measured 1 week and 7 weeks later. The high initial-interest children who received a reward lost interest when observed a week later, while the low-interest rewarded children gained interest. By 7 weeks both groups returned to their original levels. At the time of the reward, high-interest rewarded subjects drew more drawings, but of poorer quality, than did the unrewarded high-interest children. Low-interest children who were rewarded also drew more than their unrewarded counterparts, but quality was not affected.