From a study by Aoun P, Jones T, Shaw GL, and Bodner M:
OBJECTIVES: An animal model of the ‘generalized Mozart effect’ (GME) – enhanced/normalized higher brain function in response to music exposure – has been established. We extend those results in two studies using another species (mice). Study 1: (1) maze testing after music exposure was extended to a minimum of 6 hours; (2) no exposure to music in utero. Study 2: (1) music exposure time further reduced; (2) maze testing extended to 24 hours. METHODS: Study 1: two mouse groups were exposed to music continuously for 10 hours per day for 10 weeks (Group I: Mozart’s Sonata K.448, Group II: Beethoven’s Fur Elise). After 10 weeks, the ability to negotiate a T-maze was assessed (recording working time in maze, number of errors). Maze ability was tested 6 hours following the last music exposure. Study 2: two mouse groups were exposed periodically to music (58% silence) 10 hours per day for 10 weeks. Experiments after 10 weeks examined the groups’ abilities to run the maze (recording working time/errors). Experiments were conducted 24 hours following the last music exposure. RESULTS: The Mozart group exhibited significant enhancements compared with the control mice in both studies, i.e. significantly lower working time (p<0.05) and committed fewer errors [emphasis added]. DISCUSSION: Observation of GME in another species supports its generality for the mammalian cortex. The absence of a GME in fMRI studies for the control music also indicates a neurophysiological basis. With extended exposure, GME is a long-term effect, indicating potential clinical importance. [emphasis added] It has been demonstrated that GME reduces neuropathological spiking significantly in epileptics. We discuss the relevance of this study for epilepsy treatment.
This is exciting news, even for us humans. Not only does exposure to Mozart’s Sonata K. 448 enhance productivity and reduce errors (not only in mice, as other studies I’ve posted have shown), but the change is a long-term effect. I can foresee a day when specific pieces of music may be prescribed to correct or ameliorate a mental or physical condition, and that is inspiring for all of us who love music, but especially for the musicians among us. At the same time, this should be a warning that the music we listen to will have long-term effects on us, and we should choose our music with the same care that we choose everything else that affects our health.