In after the termination of music lessons, children

 In 1993, Rauscher et al. and Gordon L.
Shaw put forward a hypothesis that there is a certain relation between music
and spatial ability, then they carried out an experiment. Thirty-six students
of non-music majors were divided into three groups, and listen to three types
of music respectively: Mozart piano sonata, popular music, and music without
any stimulation. After ten minutes, they found that students who listened
Mozart piano sonata scored eight to nine points higher than the other groups of
students who listened popular music and music without any stimulation on a
spatial IQ test. They called this phenomenon as “Mozart Effect”.

   In
the following years, a series of studies have also reported that spatial skills
might be improved by experiencing the Mozart Effect. In 1997, Rauscher et al. outlined
that by given six months of piano instruction to pre-school children, they
showed noteworthy changes that their spatial skills have been enhanced.
Rauscher et al., Jens and Robinson reported that with listening the Mozart
sonata, even rats showed improvement on maze learning. In 1999, Graziano et al.
gave a report that children who have been given music and spatial training
lessons, showed improvement on their math skills. Another finding by
Hetland(2000) reported that after the termination of music lessons, children
improved their spatial skills which lasting more than two years. Jausovec and
Habe(2005) outlined that listening to a Mozart sonata and a piece by Philip
also make improvement on the performance of a series of spatial tasks but show
little improvement on their performance on number tasks of study participants.
More research was founded that when study participants listening to the Mozart
sonata, brain waves were changed in the direction of greater cortical activity.
It also concluded that spatial cognitive skills were improved scientifically whether
the duration of listening or playing music is long or short, especially, result
in the Mozart music. Therefore, educators and the public showed tremendous
interest on Mozart Effect. For the better brain development of the newborns,
Zell miller, the govern of Georgia, asked $105,000 for providing a tape of
classical music to each of 100,000 newborns in Georgia (Gavin,2000). A small CD
industry also declared that by the exposure of listening to classical music,
mental improvement occurred (Rauscher,
2002). Even the politicians think that listening to Mozart sonata can make human
became smarter which extending the findings of the researchers, ME begin to
spread widely through the world.

   Up
to now, ME have been recommending for the improvement of learning classroom.
(Armstrong, 1994; Campbell, 2000; Gardner, 2004; Glennon, 2000; Rettig, 2005),
and have been applied in classroom activities (Elksnin & Elksnin, 2003;
Graziano, Peterson, & Shaw, 1999; Hoerr, 2003). From a research table below
showed that the number of Google TM-accessed ME .edu Web sites from 1,082 increased
to 12,700 Between June 1, 2003 and December 1, 2005, and the Pubmed database accessed professional journal
articles for ME, from 33 increased to 41. Moreover, the number of education
workshops of ME has also been increased. Google TM site: edu workshops which identified
for ME showed an increment of 124 to 192 in the six-month period between June
1, 2005 and December 1, 2005. As we can see from the database, the ME theory
have been used in education widely. However, in my opinion, ME theory is lacked
of empirical support and even there are evidences showed some contradicts and
disconfirms on ME by other theories and researches.

   Firstly, there
are no evidence for the ME to stated that major improvement of cognitive skill
can occured by the absent of the first two memory enhancement processes, which
is the repetition of cognitive skill and the excitement related to the skill
activity, are important to learning. As the Cognitive neuroscience research
claimed what students typically learned in a classroom are more likely rely on
the amalgamation of the additional enhancement of procedural skill memory for sequences
of behaviors and the declarative content memory for knowledge. For instance, students
should know how to write words as well as knowing why water is important and
necessary for human life. (Eichenbaum, 2004; Willingham, 1998). Besides, there
are six processes which affect the founding of long-term procedural and
declarative memory according to the Cognitive neuroscience research. The six
processes are as follow: 1.Repetition of the procedure or imfomation (Squire
& Kandel, 2000; Wickelgren, 1981), 2.Excitation at the time of learning
(LeDoux, 2002; McGaugh, 2004; Phelps, 2006), 3.Connection of reward with the
material to be learned (Wise, 2004), 4.Eating some carbohydrates before or
during learning (Korol, 2002; Rampersaud, Pereira, Girard, Ad- ams, &
Metzl, 2005), 5.Enough sleep after a learning period (Walker & Stickgold,
2006),6. Escaping of drugs of abuse and alcohol (Grant, Gonzalez, Carey,
Natarajan, & Wolfson, 2003; Marinkovic, Halgren, & Maltzman, 2004).
Despite of research by Walker & Stickgold in 2006, reported that the
process of con-solidating long-term memory occurs when we sleep, and the
research by Yi & Chun in 2005 reported that some learning still arises out
of central attention when we are attending to other to other tasks deliberately,
we can easily found that ME does not attend the first two memory enhancement
process which is crucial for the cognitive skills. Moreover, Wickelgren (1981)
made a conclusion in his review of research on human learning and state that
“practice makes perfect,” “learning curves are almost always continuous
incremental functions of study time” (p. 38). In other word, it is important
for spening time on repetition for learning. According to the neurobiology and
psychology of learning, Squire and Kandel (2000) found and concluded that “the
number of times the event or fact is repeated” and “the extent to which we
rehearse the material after it has first been presented” is the main reasons
which cause the improvement of procedural skills and the enhancement of content
memories. (p. 71). James and Gauthier also stated that by the following
repetition and time-shifted which increase related brain activation, learning
will be improved. A. Martin and Gotts
in 2005, also outlined that despite of the improvement of object identification
with repetition of images on the object, object learning was damaged when one’s
frontal lobe activity was interrupted during the repetitions. It is clearly
that repetition induces learning and it is one of the important factor of
learning. However, ME only stated that the improvements on spatial skills of
children, adults and even rats after having music experience, but there are exclusive
of repetition of the spatial material, it makes conflict with the current
cognitive neuroscience understanding in terms of the basis of skill
improvement. In addition, excitement induces learning. It is said that by
influencing the period of neurobiological activity positively which called
consolidation will creates a memory in the brain, and the emotional arousal
enriches memory formation (McGaugh, 2004; Phelps, 2006). An outline by LeDoux
in 2002 stated that we “remember particularly well … those things that arouse
our emotions” and the enhancement of emotional excitation produced by hormones
and amygdala activity will reinforces both conscious and nonconscious memory
formation (p. 222). In 2003, Cahill, Gorski, and Le made a report which
evidenced that human memory consolidation will be enhanced by the increasing
epinephrine of human cortical arousal. McGaugh also have a review by the research
on the brain basis of emotion and memory, he sums up that “emotionally
significant experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant, activate hormonal and
brain systems” through which “our emotionally exciting experiences be- come
well remembered” in 2004 (p. 18). All the researches and statements above
indicated that the ME theory is controvertible in terms of the current
cognitive neuroscience understanding of the basis of skill improvement.

   Secondly, there are evidences which has been
reported stated that ME works may due to the result of positive emotional
arousal of study participants (Husain, Thompson, & Schellenberg, 2002;
Jausovec & Habe, 2005; Thompson, Schellenberg, & Husain, 2001). Thompson
et al. conducted a study which tested the spatial abilities of study
participant in terms of three conditions: After they sat in silence, after they
listened to a brisk upbeat Mozart sonata and a slow sad Albinoni adagio. Study
participants who listened after Mozart sonata perform better on the spatial
task than following the silence. However, study participants who listen the
Albinoni preform best out of the three groups. Then Thompson et al. concluded
that the ME is a result of positive arousal. In 2002, Husain et al. reported
that different effects on spatial skill were caused by four versions of the
same Mozart sonata ,which is the version of fast, slow, major, minor. It found
that participants who listened to the fast version and the major version of the
Mozart sonata, have higher Spatial task scores. And the participants who get
higher scores were in a more positive emotional state which leads a conclusion
that the source of the ME are tend to be the positive emotional arousal. Due to
the positive emotional arousal, ME works. Besides, Jausovec and Habe (2005)
reported that as the brain wave activity increasing while listening to a Mozart
sonata, performance of on a set of participants on spatial rotation tasks enhanced.
They finally conduct a theory that due to incensement of brain activity in
certain areas by Mozart’s music selectively, the binding of sensory stimuli
into a unitary whole. As the findings showed above, research stated that the
improvement of spatial learning for a brief period is account for music,
especially some fast tempo of Mozart, major key compositions, which produced
positive emotional arousal and increased cortical activity as well.

In addition, there
are series researches which have been reported evidence which disconfirm the
ME. (Chabris, 1999; Husain et al., 2002; McKelvie & Low, 2002; Nantais
& Schellenberg, 1999; Steele, 2003; Steele, Bass, & Crook, 1999;
Steele, Brown, & Stoecker, 1999; Thompson et al., 2001; Twomey &
Esgate, 2002). Chabris made a report r of a meta-analysis of sixteen ME studies
and there showed no change was found in either IQ or spatial reasoning ability.
Chabris even argued ME by using the replication of the Rauscher et al. 1995
study. Following studies of replication on ME which conducted by Steele, Bass,
and Crook (1999) and Steele, Brown, and Stoecker (1999) are also found that no
significant change in spatial IQ. McKelvie and Low also outlined that, no
improvement showed on the spatial IQ scores compare two groups of children who
listened to a Mozart sonata of not. In 2004, Fudin and Lembessis made criticize
on the original Rauscher et al. (1993) study that there are defects on his
methodology. Besides, Steele figured out that rats are deaf in the womb or are
the rats are born with deaf, and the adult rats are deaf which cannot hear the
tones in a Mozart sonata, may not have improvement on their maze learning by
hearing a Mozart sonata in the studied by Rauscher et al. (1998). Thus, here
comes controversy to the study.

   In a nutshell, the Mozart Effect foster and enhanced
the spatial skill which may be beneficial for the
learning of students. However, Series of studies and researches showed above
that ME may regarded as the result of cortical arousal. Although it has wide
currency in education, the empirical supports for ME is useful to apply in
classroom is not sufficient. Therefore, I think ME should not be the basis for
educational practice. Educator should be aware of this issue and consider
whether apply it in a classroom learning or not.Moreover, I think the
enticement and repetition which enhancing students learning can be better
introduced by planning other learning activities and take beneficial for
students since the theories reviewed on ME showed contradicts on cognitive
neuroscience researches. However, I think people can also test whether ME is
work or not and used it in a certain learning ways for enhancing learning, such
as having a pried of listening the Mozart sonata before study or playing Mozart
sonata to babies, etc. However, it is not suggested to be the basis for
educational practice as there are lack of empirical support.

 

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