Nick Medford <nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> 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.
...(Was there a Mozart experiment on rats?? I've got a feeling
> there was).
Yes, the rat experiment was this:
Improved maze learning through early music exposure in rats.
Rauscher FH, Robinson KD, Jens JJ
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh 54901, USA.
Neurol Res 1998 Jul;20(5):427-32
Rats were exposed in utero plus 60 days post-partum to either complex
music (Mozart Sonata (k. 448)), minimalist music (a
Philip Glass composition), white noise or silence, and were then tested
for five days, three trials per day, in a multiple T-maze.
By Day 3, the rats exposed to the Mozart work completed the maze more
rapidly and with fewer errors than the rats assigned to
the other groups. The difference increased in magnitude through Day 5.
This suggests that repeated exposure to complex music
induces improved spatial-temporal learning in rats, resembling results
found in humans. Taken together with studies of
enrichment-induced neural plasticity, these results suggest a similar
neurophysiological mechanism for the effects of music on
spatial learning in rats and humans.
The original observation on humans should haver been in Narue (???), but
the first I find in a search is by Rauscher et al., in
Neuroscience Lett. 185:44-47, 1995. There is also a monkey study
(S.Carlson et al., Neuroreport 8:2853-2856, 1997) proposing that
Mozart's piano music served as a distractive stimulus during
performance- the preformance deteriorated if music was played during the
test, whereas white noise improved performance.
Still, the human imaging study by Bodner et al. is impressive.