Music listening and cognitive abilities in 10- and 11-year-olds: the blur effect

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1060:202-9. doi: 10.1196/annals.1360.013.


The spatial abilities of a large sample of 10 and 11 year olds were tested after they listened to contemporary pop music, music composed by Mozart, or a discussion about the present experiment. After being assigned at random to one of the three listening experiences, each child completed two tests of spatial abilities. Performance on one of the tests (square completion) did not differ as a function of the listening experience, but performance on the other test (paper folding) was superior for children who listened to popular music compared to the other two groups. These findings are consistent with the view that positive benefits of music listening on cognitive abilities are most likely to be evident when the music is enjoyed by the listener.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Affect
  • Aptitude
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Hearing
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Music*