Academic level – Undergrad. 1-2
Type of paper – Reflection paper
Topic Title – The Mozart effect and child development
This assignment is about the Mozart effect, the popular belief that “listening to Mozart makes you smarter”, sometimes applied in particular to young children. As preparation, read the single-page original article by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993), under Readings.
The assignment consists of two components, each worth 50 points (10 for each QDAFI component):
1. Do a QDAFI on the replication study by Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain (2001), also under Readings.
2. Basing himself on the Rauscher paper, in 1998, Governor Zell Miller of Georgia proposed to send every child born in the state a CD with classical music. Write a 200-250 word reflection on the question “Is this a net positive example of how psychology research can influence society, or does it illustrate everything that can go wrong from research methods to translation?”
QDAFI on research by Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain (2001)
Q. The question of the article was whether the Mozart effect was a consequence of between-condition differences in arousal and mood that could clarify the enhancement of spatial abilities.
D. In order to answer the question, the authors analyzed the impact of music on the participants’ spatial task completion focusing on mood dynamics and arousal emergence. The scholars varied music pieces like Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448, and Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor for Organ and Strings (Thompson, Schellenberg, & Husain, 2001).
A. The scholars measured the impact of rigorous Mozart’s Sonata and melancholic Albinoni’s Adagio on the formation of arousal and mood alterations in participants and how music variations affected their spatial task performance. The experiment varied in time and setting. For one week, the participants listened to Mozart and completed the task. The next week they listened to Albinoni and completed the task. The task’s provision varied as they were selected randomly.
F. The principal finding was that the Mozart effect had a direct linkage to the participants’ mood improvement and the emergence of arousal, which clarified why their spatial abilities increased only for a short time. When the participants listened to melancholic Albinoni, no improvements in spatial abilities were observed.
I. The scholars answered their question that it was mood enhancement and arousal emergence that clarified why Mozart’s Sonata had a temporary increase in the participants’ spatial abilities. Nevertheless, Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain specified that mood enhancement and arousal were not identical and did not improve creative problem-solving (2001).
Reflection on Governor Zell Miller’s Initiative Considering the Mozart Effect
Psychology plays a crucial role in society’s well-being. Nevertheless, the faulty translation of the scholars’ results can mislead the community by giving erroneous ideas on some phenomena. Hence, in the assignment, I reflect on why Governor Zell Miller’s opinion on the Mozart effect is faulty in translation based on Rauscher et al.’s; Jenkins’s, and Thompson et al.’s articles.
I tend to consider that Governor Zell Miller’s initiative regarding the Mozart Effect illustrates everything that can go wrong, from research methods to translation, because of the lack of replication of the obtained findings. In their original study, Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) specified that Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos could improve spatial recognition skills; however, as criticized by Jenkins (2001), the results were controversial as the scholars who aimed to prove their credibility failed to replicate them.
To my mind, the translation of Rauscher et al.’s results was wrong, which misled Governor Miller’s perception of the Mozart effect. Despite this, I cannot refute that the scholars’ results mattered to the community. The principal claim I am trying to make is the importance of retesting the findings and conducting supportive investigations that would bring additional insights into the psychological phenomenon, like did Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain (2001), who proved that mood and arousal relevant to Mozart effect and its temporary function. Hence, to avoid finding misinterpretations, one must prove the results and conduct additional research.
To conclude, Governor Miller’s response to the Mozart effect was a direct example of finding a faulty translation. The reason is that one has to prove the reliability of the results. Hence, by conducting new studies, the scholars can prove the credibility of the scholar phenomenon, give additional insights to it, and contribute to the true representation of the psychological breakthrough.
Jenkins, J. (2001). The Mozart effect. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 94, 170-172. 10.1177/014107680109400404.
Rauscher, F., Shaw, G., & Ky, K. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Scientific Correspondence. 611. https://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/365611a0.
Thompson, W., Schellenberg, E., & Husain, G. (2001). Arousal, mood, and the Mozart effect. Psychological Science, 12(3), 248-251. 10.1111/1467-9280.00345.