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Mozart and spatial-temporal reasoningFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to ascertain if listening to Mozart helps to improve spatial-temporal reasoning and if so, how lasting is this effect. The science project experiment involved hamsters that were made to listen to Mozart for 12 weeks.

Hypothesis

Hamsters exposed to Mozart's music are able to complete a maze more quickly.

Scientific Terms

Spatial temporal reasoning, Mozart Effect, neurobiologist, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Background

Mozart Effect

Listening to recordings of performances of Mozart's musical pieces is believed to enhance and boost brain power, especially spatial-temporal reasoning. The theory is that it helps to stimulate and enhance our mental capacities. This result of mental enhancement, after listening to Mozart, is known as the "Mozart Effect".

The Mozart Effect was first discovered about 20 years ago by neuro-biologist Gordon Shaw at the University of California. Their experiments showed that people who listened to Mozart scored better results at IQ tests. However, the experiment has been criticized because other researchers were not able to reproduce the same results. Despite the criticism, listening to Mozart is believed to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease and numerous tests have been conducted to prove that it also helps mice solve mazes more quickly!

Neuro-biologists Mark Bodner and Gordon Shaw conducted other experiments using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the University of California. The MRI imaging showed that most types of music stimulate the auditory cortex and sometimes the part of the brain associated with emotion. However, when Mozart was played, the entire cortex was stimulated including areas of the brain associated with vision, motor coordination and higher-thought processing.

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Complexity level:
8
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
84 days to prepare, 10 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Hamsters are required for this experiment
Safety concerns:

Wear gloves when handling the hamsters to prevent injury.