Failure to Confirm the Rauscher and Shaw Description of Recovery of the Mozart Effect

Percept Mot Skills. 1999 Jun;88(3 Pt 1):843-8. doi: 10.2466/pms.1999.88.3.843.


The Mozart effect is an increase in spatial reasoning scores detected immediately after listening to the first movement of a Mozart piano sonata. Rauscher and Shaw (1998) suggested that failure to produce a Mozart effect could arise from carryover effects of a spatial reasoning pretest which may interfere with the effect of listening to Mozart. They cited an unpublished study in which a verbal distractor was inserted between the pretest and listening condition, and the manipulation produced the recovery of a Mozart effect. This experiment attempted to confirm the unpublished study. 206 college students were exposed to one of three sequences, pretest-Verbal distractor material-Mozart, pretest-Mozart-Verbal distractor material, and pretest-Verbal distractor material. An immediate posttest indicated no significant difference on solution of paper folding and cutting items among the three groups. The results do not support Rauscher and Shaw (1998). Our negative results are consistent with prior failures in other laboratories to produce a Mozart effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Intelligence Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Music*
  • Reaction Time
  • Space Perception
  • Thinking
  • Verbal Behavior