Mozart Effect May Work Better for Women than Men

From a study by Gilleta KS, Vrbancic MI, Elias LJ, and Saucier DM:

During the past decade, there have been numerous reports of a brief, but statistically significant, improvement in immediate spatial-temporal performance after listening to 10 min. of Mozart’s Sonata K.448, known as the “Mozart effect.” The purpose of the present study was to assess whether production of the effect is influenced by length of listening conditions or sex. Each of 52 right-handed participants (26 females, 26 males) completed a paper-folding and cutting task and a Mental Rotations task following a listening condition in which the Mozart sonata was played and a silent condition (no music was played). A significant 3-way interaction among sex, listening condition, and task indicated that an effect was present only for women on the Mental Rotations task [emphasis added]. As such, researchers should investigate the role of sex in production of the Mozart effect.

Here’s the Mozart sonata in question for you:

There’s been a lot of speculation on the differences between women’s and men’s brains recently, and this study presents some intriguing findings. However, just as the media jumped on the “Mozart Effect” without fully understanding what was involved, so we should be cautious about overgeneralizing the differences, or the effects, on men’s and women’s brains of classical music. (And no, I’m not going to say “I told you men just don’t listen.”) In fact, most of the fMRI studies showing significant differences were carried out on male musicians. So guys, don’t use this as an excuse to stop listening to classical music–rather, learn to listen harder, or differently.

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