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

kenneth Collins kpaulc at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 16 11:01:45 EST 1999

while i don't doubt the possibility, this is an experiment that i'd have to
monitor in-progress, for the duration, before i'd accept the conclusions.

it's more-likely that the Human (Experimentors') response to Mozart, vs., say
noise, would be readily-detectable by the mice, and it's this Human-behavioral
stuff to which the mice are actually responding(?)... kind of like the horse
that could, supposedly, count, but which was being subtly, although
unknowingly, 'coached' by it's trainer during 'demonstrations' of the horse's
'ability to count'.

the Human response to Mozart arises from an extremely-complex set of dynamics
which, among other things, include all of the 'hype' that holds that merely
'appreciating' the Beauty of this or that Music means 'good things' about an

so, folks often listen to 'Mozart' with a 'hidden agenda' which involves
'convincing' others that the 'listeners' are 'intelligent'.

my 'point' is that it's very-difficult to prevent this underlying Human stuff
from transfering, a bit, to mice that are necessarily subjected to interaction
with Humans who're predisposed as in the preceding paragraph.

Truth is that there's worth in a lot of Artistic endeavor, and if an Artist
'suffers' to get Something into her or his Art, then it's pretty-much always
the case that the Art has the capacity for enhancing the neural
information-processing capacities of those who experience the Artist's work.

although most folks probably don't consider it to be 'high art', i enjoy Kris
Kristofferson's Music, for instance, be-cause it conveys Caring and Courage...
"I don't believe no one wants to hear."

it lifts me up. so does the Music of Martina McBride.

but it's not just a Musical thing, there's Heart-Stuff in-there... pretty-much
the same stuff that's in Mozart's work, but just conveyed via a differedn
'mode'. the link is that, in the end, this 'conveyance' is via high-'level'

if mice do-it, then their doing-it is 'just' a glimmer of the much-larger set
of things that occurs in Humans, but i'd still want to observe the experiment
because, as Bill Skaggs pointed out in an earlier msg in this thread, mice
(most animals) are extraordinarily sensitive to the subtlties communicated



dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi wrote:

> 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.
> Dag Stenberg

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