The Effects of Classical Music on Cognition Essay

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 music on learning, The effect demonstrated that here may be an important relationship between certain types of music (e. . 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 imposed 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 existing 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 detect to classical music on heart rate and in turn cognitive bail t I sees 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 correctly : Amount of words remembered : Effect of classical music on heart rate * Controlled/Constant variables: The test subjects (test subjects must have completed both sections of the test) seconds) equations look at : Period for which music is played (30 Difficulty of : Amount of time test subject is given to word lists (1 5 seconds) : The amount of words on the word : The classical composition played to test subject (“Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi) at which test subjects heart rates are taken. * Method : The periods l.Test subject is given a form consisting of three parts: A questionnaire for survey purposes, Test 1 to be completed with no stimuli; consisting of test 1 .

1: Simple Equations and test 1. 2: Memory and Test 2 to be completed using the composition segment “Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi as stimulus; consisting of test 2. 1 : Simple Equations and test 2.

: Memory. II. Test subject is given unlimited amount of time to complete questionnaire section of form for survey purposes.

This includes the following questions: a. Do you use any other kind of stimuli to improve your cognitive abilities? If Yes, please elaborate) b. Do you listen to music while studying or doing homework? (If yes, why and what kind of music? ) c. Do you listen to classical music on a regular basis? (Why or why not? ) Ill. The test subject’s heart rate in beats per minute is taken using the Android “Cardiograph” application by MACROSCOPIC. IV. The test subject is timed while employing four simple algebraic equations taken from the eighth grade algebra section to wry. Mat a) x+7=1 5 b) 1 5-y=45 c) 1 5-P=30 d) 12+f=100 ensiling.

Com , the tolling equations must be completed V.The time taken for the test subject to complete this section is recorded. VI. The test subject is given a list of ten words and fifteen seconds to memories as many of the words as possible. List consists of the following words.

* Hammer * Number * Fish * Purple * Bag * Ribbon * Mouse * Slippers * Finger * Doll VI’. The test subject is instructed to say “stop” when they cannot remember any more words. VIII. The test subject is timed while writing down as many of the words as they can remember ‘X.

The time taken for the test subject to complete this section is recorded.X. The test subject listens to thirty seconds of the “spring” segment of Antonio Vivaldi “Four Seasons” composition. X’. The test subject’s heart rate in beats per minute is taken using the Android “Cardiograph” application by MACROSCOPIC XII.

The test subject is timed while completing four simple algebraic equations taken from the eighth grade algebra section of www. Antihistamines. Com , the following equations must be completed: ) 13+1-?20 b) 4-k=16 c) a+17=80 d) c-4=8 XIII.

The time taken for the test subject to complete this section is recorded. XIV.Four (40%) experienced a decrease in the second tat section of the test and only one (10%) experienced an increase. This shows that (in the five test subjects who experienced a change in mathematical cognition) the classical music actually decreased majority of the test subject’s mathematical cognitive ability during the period of the test. 70% of the test subjects experienced an increase in the amount of time they took to complete the equations (respective of whether the answers were correct or not) and 30% experienced a decrease in the amount of time they took.In the memory section three test subjects (30%) remembered the same amount of rods in both sections, while only one (10%) could remember an increased amount of words and the other six (60%) remembered fewer words. By this it can be concluded that the classical music did not enhance the short term memory aspect of cognition either. Six students reached the maximum amount of words they could remember in a smaller amount of time with the classical music, and four took longer to reach the maximum amount of remembered words.

One of the trends I noted in the experiment was that the increase in test scores where increases occurred where at higher percentages than the decreases; which could be seen in the short term memory cognition test; a student experiencing an increase in the number to remembered words, snowed an increase to 2 example, whilst the percentages of the decreased test scores showed decreases of marginally smaller amounts like 10% in most cases.There appeared to be no trend in the increase or the decrease of the students heart rates and the test scores as students with an increased heart rate experienced increases as well as decreases in test scores and students a decreased heart rate experienced the same phenomenon This opposes the belief that a more relaxed or ore anxious state influences cognitive abilities, and instead leads me to believe that each individuals cognitive abilities function at different optimal levels depending on the individuals preferences I. E.

Whether they prefer to work under pressure or not.There also appeared to be no relation between the test subjects’ prior use of classical music as stimuli and the results of the experiment, as the 20% of test subjects who had used classical music as stimuli experienced similar effects to the 80% who had not. The findings of this experiment have led me to believe that the supposed effect of lassie music from the baroque era on cognition can be explained by a phenomenon similar to the placebo effect; that the effect of the classical music on cognition is entirely dependent on the test subjects individual belief in the classical music’s ability to improve their cognition.


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