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The T-Maze and Effect of Music on Learning Ability of Mice (again.)

dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi
Tue Nov 16 04:01:00 EST 1999


Nick Medford <nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> the key thing is that there *is* a control group, so that's fine. I don't think
> it's a crazy idea that exposure to music might affect the animals' performance
> on the task. I'm sure people here will be familiar with the so-called "Mozart
> effect" experiments where exposure to Mozart's music has supposedly
> enhanced (human) subjects' cognitive performances in various situations. I
> know these experiments have been controversial and various
> methodological/interpretational criticisms have been levelled at them. But
> there's at least some precedent for the idea- in humans anyway, not sure
> about rodents! (Was there a Mozart experiment on rats?? I've got a feeling
> there was).

I recently (Neuroscience meeting, poster by Mark Bodner et al. from U
Cal, Irvine) saw fMRI images of the effect of Mozart's sonata for 
two pianos in D major (K448), compared to piano music from the '30s and 
Beethoven's "Für Elise". While piano and Beethoven activated just the 
auditory cortex, the Mozart sonata activated an enormous amount of 
areas in the brain (REALLY impressive), including prefrontal activation.
It was apparent that this Mozart piece had effects on the brain that 
music in general does not. I do not know whether other Mozart music 
has similar effect; also I have not listened to that sonata since to 
try to feel whether it is more mathematical, more arousing, more confusing
or whatnot. The authors emphasize that this sonata has been found to
enhance spatio-temporal reasoning.

Of course it might be of interest to see if the spatiotemporal reasoning
of rats also are enhanced by this sonata - I do not at this point know
whether this has been studied. Until shown otherwise, I hesitate to
believe that rats get the same from complicated music as humans.
  As most of us know, mice are very much different in their
spatiotemporal abilities (e.g. water maze behavior, orientation in
maze).

Dag Stenberg





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