Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2012, 5-21

Original scientific paper

The Mozart Effect – Testing the Arousal Hypothesis

Nina Terzin-Laub -
Dragutin Ivanec - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 5-21).pdf

The Mozart effect indicates a short-term improvement in the performance on spatial ability tests after listening to a certain kind of music. The most widely used composition in order to induce the effect in former researches was the Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K448. This research was aimed at determining the basis of the two dominant assumptions on the origins of the Mozart effect which arose from previous research results: the neurophysiological hypothesis and the arousal hypothesis. In order to check both hypotheses with one study, an experiment was designed to compare the influence of Mozart’s music on performance on a measure of spatial ability with a musical piece which differs from Mozart’s music in its musical characteristics, but is similar in quality and intensity of mood changes that it induces during listening. The measurement was conducted twice: first, all subjects were exposed to silence while solving simple tasks in order to maintain their attention during that time. After 5 to 7 days, each participant was exposed to one of two experimental interventions (i.e. to listening to one of the two different musical pieces: Mozart sonata K448 or the other, musically different composition, but equivalent according to induced mood changes), or to silence again (control group). The performance on the measure of spatial ability was thus measured twice. Results showed only a small mood change following exposure to music, without affecting test performance.

Mozart effect, arousal, spatial capabilities, mood, musical preference

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