Cognitive Performance After Listening to Music: A Review of the Mozart Effect

E. Glenn Schellenberg

in Music, Health, and Wellbeing

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586974
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738357 | DOI:
Cognitive Performance After Listening to Music: A Review of the Mozart Effect

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This chapter reviews studies that examined the effects of music listening on cognitive performance. It focuses on performance after listening to music. The arousal and mood hypothesis offers an explanation of the Mozart effect that has nothing to do with Mozart or with spatial abilities. Rather, it proposes that Mozart's music is simply one example of a stimulus that can change how people feel, which, in turn, influences how they perform on tests of cognitive abilities. In other words, the hypothesis offers a simple and sensible explanation of the effect when it is evident. There does not appear to be a specific link between music listening and cognitive abilities, and certainly not between listening to Mozart and spatial abilities. Hence, the direct benefits of listening to music on cognition are more of a fantasy than a reality. On the other hand, it is clear that music can change listeners' emotional states, which, in turn, may impact on their cognitive performance, and the fact that the link is mediated by arousal and mood does not make it less meaningful.

Keywords: music listening; cognitive ability; Mozart; emotional state; cognition; arousal; mood

Chapter.  8628 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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