Does music enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults? The Vivaldi effect

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2007 Oct;19(5):394-9. doi: 10.1007/BF03324720.


Background and aims: Controversial evidence suggests that music can enhance cognitive performance. In the present study, we examined whether listening to an excerpt of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" had a positive effect on older adults' cognitive performance in two working memory tasks.

Methods: With a repeated-measures design, older adults were presented with the forward version of the digit span and phonemic fluency in classical music, white-noise and no-music conditions.

Results: Classical music significantly increased working memory performance compared with the no-music condition. In addition, this effect did not occur with white noise.

Conclusion: The authors discuss this finding in terms of the arousal-and-mood hypothesis and the role of working memory resources in aging.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Music*