The Effects of Classical Music on Cognition

Topics: Baroque music, Psychology, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Pages: 12 (2495 words) Published: September 1, 2013
* Aim of project
To test the effects of classical music from the Baroque era on the short term memory and mathematical problem solving components of cognition.

* Hypotheses
Primary Hypothesis
* The “spring” segment from the classical Baroque composition “Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi, improves the short term memory and mathematical problem solving components of cognition respectively.

Secondary Hypothesis
* The short term memory component of cognition will show a higher improvement as a result of stimulation by the classical Baroque music than the mathematical problem solving component of cognition.

* Introduction
The "Mozart effect", a widely debated topic between 1990 and 1999, was what many researchers used to describe the effects of classical music on cognitive abilities. The relationship between music and learning has been an area of interest for researchers for many years. Some studies have shown that music can enhance cognitive abilities and others have shown that it can interfere with complex cognitive processes but not simple processes. In 2004, researchers conducted a study that presented the effect of Mozart's music on learning, The effect demonstrated that there may be an important relationship between certain types of music (e.g. classical) and learning, the proposed increase in the construction of alpha waves may result in positive learning ability. Other studies on the Mozart Effect, however, have produced inconsistent results, often showing no significant increase in cognitive abilities.

The effect of classical music on heart rate is what led me to believe that classical music from the Baroque era could enhance learning abilities. Baroque music is the style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. It is often composed of a very complex combination on dramatic high and low notes, played in quick succession. It is believed that Baroque music triggers the left and right sides of the brain, which stimulates and optimizes learning and information retention. The stimulation of the brain as a result of classical music can be associated with lowering of heart rate when listening to classical music. The listeners' heart beats slower and as a result of this their respiratory system functions at a more relaxed pace as well. They take deeper breaths resulting more oxygenated blood (as opposed to when not listening to classical music) reaching the brain and stimulating cerebral activity. The listeners’ blood pressure also drops as a result of the relaxed heart rate and they feel less stressed and more confident when carrying out tasks

The effect of classical music on heart rate and in turn cognitive abilities would be especially useful to students as it could help them retain more information in less time resulting in higher test scores.

By conducting a survey to determine whether or not students use classical music to enhance cognitive abilities and an experiment to determine if classical does in fact enhance cognitive abilities, I hope introduce a method of cerebral stimulation capable of improving the problem solving and short-term memory components of cognition to improve students’ academic abilities.

* Variables
* Independent Variable: Whether or not the classical music is being played.

* Dependent Variables: Amount of correctly solved equations
: Amount of words remembered correctly : Effect of classical music on heart rate

* Controlled/Constant variables: The test subjects (test subjects must have completed both sections of the test)
: Period for which music is played (30 seconds) : Difficulty of equations : Amount of time...

References: * Bowman, B. (2007). Does listening to Mozart affect listening
ability? International Journal of Listening, 21, L24-139
* Fogelson, S. (1973). Music as a distracter on reading-test
Performance of eighth grade students
* Hall, J. (1952) The effect of background music on the reading
comprehension of 278 eighth and ninth grade students.
* Jackson, C. (2004). Route learning and the Mozart effect.
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