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The Effect Of Music Composed By Mozart Psychology Essay

INTRODUCTION

The first concerns about the effect of music composed by Mozart, regarding the spatial abilities, arose in the’90s , after trying to simulate the activity of the brain to a computer. According to the neurologists Gordon Shaw, of the University of California at Irvine, the way the nerve cells in the brain (neurons) excited, create cells (neural networks- clusters), in order to create some particular model activation and simulation rates inside the brain. According to Shaw, these physiological activation models are the basic “grammar” of neuronal activity. In the 1988, Shaw and Leng (1991), tried to convert these brain signals into sounds. Surprisingly enough they found that this activation models (rhythmic stimulation types) sound like a kind of music, with separate identifiable style. Shaw hypothesised that if he could understand the “grammar” of neurons then he could find how music influences brain.

Don Campbell, author of the book “The Mozart Effect”, believes that music composed by Mozart has something special and unique compared to other composers. Campbell (1997), argue that exposure to Mozart music is more influential regarding spatial abilities in relation to other composers such as Bach or Beethoven. The power of Mozart’s music arose from his environmental influences that he was brought up. His childhood and adult experiences are affected by the fact that both of his parents were musicians. As such, continuum exposure to music caused neurological differences; but this contradicts the fact that other great composers like Bach and Beethoven were raised up in similar musical environment.

It was first suggested by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) that listening to a Mozart sonata (K.488) improved spatial IQ by an amount of 8 –9 points. The particular phenomenon was named the “Mozart Effect”, leading to an interest of the media’s focus (McKelvie & Low, 2002). As such, individuals were interested in this passive method in order to enhance their spatial abilities, leading in an immense amount of profit dedicated to the so called “Mozart Effect”. One can comprehend the public attraction with Rauscher et al.’s (1993) suggestion. As Nantais & Schellenberg (1999) argue, if Mozart effect was a phenomenon that affects the individual’s physiology then listening to Mozart should be a fast and sufficient way to enhance spatio-temporal skills amongst all kind of professions; also the effect should be a baseline so that we could start rejecting developmental theories such as Gardner’s (1993) theory of multiple intelligences. Therefore it is of great importance to replicate the initial finding and validate or reject the myth around this phenomenon.

Rauscher et al. (1993) become aware of quite a few studies that were agreeing that spatial presentation and musical skills were detected in the right hemisphere of the brain (McKelvie & Low, 2002). Evidence provided in those reports shows that harm in the right hemisphere disrupts music and spatial skills whilst injuries in the left hemisphere don’t correlate with those abilities; (all the findings are based on cerebral injury) McKelvie & Low (2002).

As such, Rauscher et al. (1993) run his own study with 36 college students undergoing a spatial reasoning test after listening to 10 min. of 1) Mozart sonata for two piano in D major k.488 2) a relaxation piece of music 3) no music at all. From the results Rauscher et al. (1993) argue that spatial ability was greater for participants which have been exposure to Mozart music; on the other hand, participants that have been exposure in silence and in relaxation conditions didn’t have any differences in both between the conditions and between spatial enchantments (Gordon, 2000). It is worth noticing that the researchers didn’t argue that the effects will be only limited to music composed by Mozart; rather they argued that in order to find the benefits regarding spatial abilities an individuals would need to have exposure in complex and not simplistic musical pieces.

Some studies managed to find a link between Mozart music and spatial enchantment whilst others haven’t.

Apart from the initial researchers that were able to validate again their findings in another study (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1995), Rideout & Lauback (1996) was able to validating the effect after using a relaxation tape and compare it with a Mozart sonata, they found that Mozart music produced higher results for people doing the Paper Folding and Cutting (PF/C) tests. In addition, Wilson & Brown (1997) used three conditions 1) Mozart music, 2) condition of silence 3) and relaxation tape; they found that enhancements in spatial abilities measured by maze problems occurred after listening to both the Mozart music and under the condition of silence. Another study identical with the above run by Rideout & Taylor (1998), validated the Mozart effect; even though the enhancement in the spatial abilities could not be regarded as significant. Last but not least, Rideout, Dougherty & Wernert (1998), not only replicated the Mozart effect but also discover it under music composed by Yanni; (Yanni’s music is regarded completely different from Mozart’s but it was selected because it follows the same tempo and the same structure as Mozart does).

(auti tin aporipsan (e.g. Steele, Bass, & Crook, 1999; Murray & Murray, 1996); the only existing studies that were able to validate the effect were the studies that have been done by the initial researchers (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1995) that suggested the effect. Thompson , Schellenberg, and Husain (2001) argue that there is a possibility the “Mozart effect” to be nothing more than just high levels of arousal produced by music. Indeed, in their study they put their participants to listen either Mozart (fast and energetic piece of music) or Albinoni (slow and sad); participants that listen to Mozart scored significantly higher in POMS arousal score and significantly lower in negative mood (POMS mood score) in contrast to the ones that were listening to Albinoni (Thompson et al.,2001).

“In short, our findings provide compelling evidence that that the “mysterious” Mozart effect can be explained by participants’ mood and arousal level” (p.250) Thompson et al. (2001).

As music plays a vital role in our lives it is unquestionable that it affects individuals differently. We are interested to look that phenomenon in the perspective of how music is related to mood. Different music types (e.g. tempo, lyrics, rhythm) may lead to feelings of pleasant or even sad emotions. Indeed, mood has a great deal of being influenced by music but the quantity of influence may vary greatly according to the situation. Thus it is upon our own power of how much influence we will give it in order to be affected (Alpert & Alpert, 1990). Non-the-less Mozart effect is a fascinating and yet widely controversy phenomenon. Whatever the results and the studies, one particular aspect is taken for granted. Music affects us, both physiologically and mentally. Studies done by Dreher (1947), Henkin (1956) and Traxel (1959) have explored the effects of music and the GSR (Galvanic Skin Response); the findings produced a variety of results which briefly can be said that either that is reduced, neutral, or boosted GSR is having the trend to be different according to the music type that one is exposure (Peretti, 1975). As one can understand music without lyrics and music with lyrics vary accordingly.

As a results from the above in the current study we examine the difference in mood, arousal and spatial enhancement individuals may have in 3 different conditions. As such we are setting the following hypothesis as a baseline to our study:

Hypothesis No1: Participants who listen to Mozart will have their HR+ GSR the same as the ones in No music condition. Additionally no arousal will be triggered after exposure to Mozart Music and No music.

Hypothesis No2: Individuals will be significantly more aroused after expose to Dance music than the other two (2) conditions and have in both POMS mood questionnaire and Block Design high scores.

Hypothesis No3: Individuals’ will complete faster the block design after exposure in Dance music in contrast to the Mozart music and to No music.

Hassler M. (1985), found an important link between music and spatial abilities.


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