The effects of music on spatial reasoning
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Studies on the effects of music on spatial reasoning report conflicting results. Some studies show slight effects, and others show no effects but few seem to replicate the strong findings of the first study published in Rauscher et al. Nature, 365(6447), 611–612, (1993). Nonetheless, the debate about the performance enhancing “Mozart effect” remains to be of great interest. In this study, we manipulated different physical parameters of sound traces (amplitude and frequency) to investigate whether particular dimensions may explain the enhancement effects found in spatial tasks following music listening. To this end, we asked 179 undergraduates and 183 older adults to listen to 5-min sound traces (Mozart KV 448, amplitude modulation tone, frequency modulation tone, white noise) and then complete a spatial reasoning task. In particular, results showed that repetitive frequency changes, as occurring in Mozart’s melodies or in a frequency modulation tone, enhance performance.
Conceived and designed the experiments: CP BF AB. Performed the experiments: CP BF. Analyzed data: CP BF. Wrote the manuscript: CP BF. Discussed results and provided comments: CP BF AB NM.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.
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