We tested the performance of subjects on the same task (a 16- or 18-item paper folding and cutting task) after listening to the same Mozart music as in the original experiment. Control conditions were either the same or chosen to broaden the comparison set, and consisted of silence, relaxation instructions, minimalist music (Music with Changing Parts by P. Glass) or relaxation music (The Shining Ones by P. Thorton). The experimental designs replicated the original study at the University of Montreal (UM); other standard designs were used at the Appalachian State University (ASU) and the University of Western Ontario (UWO).

Table 1shows the results of the experiments in either Stanford-Binet standard age scores (SAS) or as raw scores when conversion was not appropriate. SAS values in the UM and UWO studies are quite similar to the original report, indicating that the subjects had similar intellectual skills. The results show that listening to the Mozart sonata produced no differential improvement in spatial reasoning in any experiment. The sonata had no effect on performance, as revealed by analyses for main effects (ASU, F(4, 81) = 0.33, P = 0.86; UM, t(30) = 1.14, P = 0.263; UWO, F(2, 64) = 1.99, P = 0.145) and several interactions, and for individual improvement from the pretest (ASU, F(4, 80) = 0.24, P = 0.91). When SAS scores were translated into IQ-point equivalents, listening to Mozart produced a 3-point increase relative to silence in one experiment (UWO, 111 versus 108) and a 4-point decrease in the other experiment (UM, 114 versus 118). Conversion of the Mozart and silence comparisons into a measure of effect size indicated that the music had little impact (mean d = 0.003). A requiem may therefore be in order.

Table 1 Effect of listening condition on scores from the Paper Folding and Cutting task

See also Chabris