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Does music enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults? The Vivaldi effect


Background and aims: Controversial evidence suggests that music can enhance cognitive performance. In the present study, we examined whether listening to an excerpt of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” had a positive effect on older adults’ cognitive performance in two working memory tasks. Methods: With a repeated-measures design, older adults were presented with the forward version of the digit span and phonemic fluency in classical music, white-noise and no-music conditions. Results: Classical music significantly increased working memory performance compared with the no-music condition. In addition, this effect did not occur with white noise. Conclusion: The authors discuss this finding in terms of the arousal-and-mood hypothesis and the role of working memory resources in aging.

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Correspondence to Nicola Mammarella.

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Mammarella, N., Fairfield, B. & Cornoldi, C. Does music enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults? The Vivaldi effect. Aging Clin Exp Res 19, 394–399 (2007).

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  • Aging
  • music
  • working memory