Mozart piano sonata improved their spatial-temporal reasoning or intelligence


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Since the early experiments carried out by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993), a number of research studies have been done or replicated and pointed out that listening to Mozart improves human intelligence by improving the spatial-temporal reasoning. The previous research studies carried out explored the effect of exposure to Mozart piano sonata, with original laboratories indicating that the effect is of immediate results and that there is a possibility of the effect making an individual exposed to the sonata to have a prolonged memory boost. Nevertheless, there have been further studies, which have shown that there is no sufficient evidence to indicate that the individuals exposed to the Mozart piano sonata improved their spatial-temporal reasoning or intelligence.

Literature review

In a study carried out by Steele et al, (1999), they replicated the settings of the original experiments and set out to explore the effects of the exposure to Mozart piano sonata and establish whether the results would show that there is a statistical evidence indicating improvement in temporal reasoning or human intelligence for the individuals exposed. By replicating the exact laboratory settings of the original work carried by the early researchers, Steele intended to create the exact settings of the original work hence allow their results to be compared to the original findings of the early studies. Their findings indicated that the exposure to the Mozart piano sonata has no significant effect on the individual exposed to the Mozart and that the Mozart effect does not exist.

Nevertheless, this is not the only study that has been done in an attempt to establish the existence of the Mozart effect on the exposed individuals. The study was however set to establish of there is any existence of the Mozart effect at all. Even though their main findings indicated that there is no significant effect. Within the study, the researchers found that despite absence of any significant effect on the cognitive task performance of the exposed individual, there was evidence of improved mod scores (Steele et al 1999). Other studies have reported that exposure to the sonata has a significant effect. For instance, in a study carried out by Jenkins (2001) on the effect of the Mozart, the researcher set out to establish if there is a Mozart effect and 9if the effect was significant given as claimed by the initial researchers- Rauscher et al (1993).

Results and Discussion

An exploration of the data to determine the distribution characteristics of the data established that the data is not normally distributed for all the samples. The following table gives an overview of the results and shows that the samples of the Mozart, other music and the control groups are skewed thus not normally distributed with Mozart D (151) = 0.128; p = 0.000; other music D (133) = 0.155; p = 0.000 and the control group D (139) = 0.211; p = 0.000. These figures provide sufficient evidence that the difference between the distribution of the sample data and a normal distribution is statistically significant.

Tests of Normality

Condition Kolmogorov-Smirnova Shapiro-Wilk

Statistic df Sig. Statistic df Sig.

presas mozart .147 151 .000 .784 151 .000

other music .116 133 .000 .789 133 .000

control .121 139 .000 .784 139 .000

difference mozart .128 151 .000 .949 151 .000

other music .155 133 .000 .950 133 .000

control .211 139 .000 .600 139 .000

The descriptive characteristics of the data provide a clear view of the salient characteristics of the data. The category of Mozart has a total number of 151 respondents with a mean of 55.258 and a median of 55.00 thus negatively skewed with a skewness of -3.002. For other music, the mean is 54.9699 with a median of 54.00 and skewness of -2.917. The control group has a mean of 55.0504, a median of 55.0000 and a skewness of -3.173. It is therefore evident that the sample is generally negatively skewed.

In order to attempt in establishing the truth of the claims made by previous experiments, which have showed that there is a positive relationship between listening to Mozart and improvement of intelligence, this study seeks to assess for any difference between the individual exposed to Mozart piano sonata and those exposed to other types of music. By conducting a multiple comparison through the Tukey HSD we are able to get the actual picture of differences between paired groups of the variables. From the results of the multiple comparisons, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the difference between Mozart and the other two groups is not statistically significant.

The post-hoc results using the Tukey-HSD indicate that there is no significant difference between the group that was exposed to Mozart and that exposed to other music (Mean difference = -0.60792; p = 0.629). Similar results are observed for differences between the group exposed to Mozart sonata and the control group indicating no significant difference with mean difference = -0.73427 and p = 0.508. Even when the control group is paired with the other group exposed to other type of music the difference in the means is not statistically significant.

Multiple Comparisons

Tukey HSD

(I) condition (J) condition 95% Confidence Interval

Mean Diff. (I-J) Std. Error Sig. Lower Bound Upper Bound

Mozart other music -.60792 .66258 .629 -2.1654 .9495

Control -.73427 .66159 .508 -2.2894 .8209

Other music Mozart .60792 .66258 .629 -.9495 2.1654

Control -.12635 .66451 .980 -1.6883 1.4356

Control Mozart .73427 .66159 .508 -.8209 2.2894

Other music .12635 .66451 .980 -1.4356 1.6883

These results have a hitting implication on the existing bodies of knowledge because the studies that have been carried out in the past have had conflicting results. Some results have showed that the Mozart effect is real and existent (e.g. Rauscher, Shaw & Ky 1993), while others have disapproved this notion (e.g. Jenkins 2001) while others have argued that the effect is partly existent (e.g. Steele et al 1999).

Due to these conflicting results, more studies need to be done and focus on understanding the effects of exposure to Mozart and other music. This is because, as observed by Steele et al (1999) in their experiment, exposure to Mozart sonata piano may generally not improve intelligence but may improve task performance. Nevertheless, based on the results of this particular experiment, there is no significant difference between individuals exposed to Mozart and those exposed to other types of music.


Jenkins J., S. 2001. The Mozart effect J R Soc Med. April; 94(4): 170–172.

Nantais K. M. & Schellenberg, E. G; 1999. The Mozart Effect: An Artifact of Preference Psychological Science vol. 10 no. 4 370-373

Steele, K, M., Bass K. E., & Crook D. M. 1999. The Mystery of the Mozart Effect: Failure to Replicate; Psychological Science

Thompson,W., F., Schellenberg E. G. & Gabriela H. 2001. Arousal, Mood, and The Mozart Effect Psychological Science May vol. 12 no. 3 248-251

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