Mozart Effect, This Time by the Numbers

From a study by Ho C, Mason O, and Spence C:

In the present study, we examined whether the ‘Mozart effect‘ would influence participants’ temporal attention using a visual attentional blink (AB) task that provides a reliable measure of the temporal dynamics of visual attention. The ‘Mozart effect’ refers to the specific claim that listening to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448 can improve the performance in spatio-temporal tasks. Participants had to try and identify two target digits (in their correct order of presentation) presented amongst a stream of distractor letters in three different conditions (presented in separate blocks of trials): while listening to the Mozart sonata played normally, while listening to the same Mozart sonata played in reverse, and while in silence. The results showed that the participants were able to detect the second target (T2) significantly more accurately (given the correct detection of the first target, T1) in the AB stream when the Mozart sonata was played normally than in either of the other two conditions. [emphasis added] Possible explanations for the differential effects of Mozart’s music being played normally and in reverse and potential confounds in previous studies reporting a facilitatory ‘Mozart effect’ are discussed. Our results therefore provide the first empirical demonstration supporting the existence of a purely temporal component to the ‘Mozart effect’ using a non-spatial visual AB task.

In this study, participants had to find and identify two numbers amid a stream of letters. They were significantly better at it while listening to the Mozart sonata. Interesting is that the study authors played the sonata backwards, and it did not have the same effect. The remarkable thing about this study is that this did not have a spatial component, yet Mozart still has a positive effect on attention.

So if you have a detail-oriented task, with a lot of distractions, it may be that Mozart can help. You don’t have to play it loudly; you don’t even have to hear it, and some studies seem to suggest that you don’t even have to have ears for it to benefit you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Material is copyrighted and may not be rewritten, copied, or republished in any form without explicit written permission. Use the contact page to request permission.

Ready to take the next step? Find out more about private classical piano lessons, private classical singing lessons, private speaking voice lessons, or master classes, by scheduling an interview at no charge and no obligation. I respect your privacy and your email address will not be sold, rented, transferred, added to a list, etc. It will be used only to contact you for schedule changes.