Cognitive Effects of Music-Listening
Background music has also been shown to calm pupils with different learning difficulties, including emotional and behavioral difficulties (Hallam & Price, 1998), attention deficit disorder (ADD) (Cripe, 1986), and mental retardation (Gregoire, 1984; Reardon & Bell, 1970). Background music was shown to have a calming effect, rendering the students less stressed and more relaxed, which in turn allowed them to be less aggressive, and more productive and cooperative (Giles, 1991). This suggests that appropriate background music may have an indirect consequence on cognition, allowing students to focus better on relevant and immediate tasks.
A typical spatial-reasoning question asked an individual to mentally unfold a piece of paper that had been folded over a number of times and then cut. The student was asked to select the final unfolded paper shape from a selection of answers. The students who listened to Mozart performed better than those listening to silence or relaxation instructions. Rauscher and Shaw (1998) suggested this effect to be based on the trion model (Leng & Shaw, 1991), which explains that neurons involved in processing complex music are activated when listening to Mozart, and in turn prime listeners for spatial-temporal tasks.
This research received a great deal of commercial and media attention (Holden, 1994; NBC News, 1994), suggesting there to be a "Mozart Effect". Don Campbell (1997) even popularized the idea that "listening to Mozart makes you smarter", which encouraged parents to buy Mozart CDs for their children. Although Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky (1995) replicated the Mozart Effect, as well as others (Nantais & Schellenberg, 1999; Rideout & Taylor, 1997) the effect is not entirely conclusive. That is, many attempts have been made to replicate and expand these findings without much success (Carstens, Huskins, & Hounshell, 1995; Dalla Bella, Dunlp, Dawe, Humphrey, & Peretz, 1999; Kenealy & Monsef, 1994; Newman, Rosenbach, Burns, Latimer, Matocha, & Vogt, 1995; Steele, Ball, & Runk, 1997; Stough, Kerkin, Bates, & Mangan, 1994; Weeks, 1996).
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