F. H. Rauscher, J. D. Robinson, and J. J. Jens (1998) reported that rats learned to complete a T-maze more quickly if they had been reared listening to a Mozart piano sonata. They interpreted this result as a demonstration of a “Mozart effect” in rats. Steele (2003) compared rat and human audiograms, in the context of piano note frequencies, and suggested that rats were deaf to most of the notes (69%) in the sonata. Steele concluded that the learning differences among the groups were not due to a Mozart effect. Rauscher (2006) argued for the use of a different rat audiogram which would increase the number of notes potentially heard to 57%. This is not a refutation of Steele’s conclusion that rats would not hear major portions of the sonata. These missing portions will deform the music structure heard by the rats. Whatever the rats hear, it is not the sonata written by Mozart. Additional comments are made about the current status of the Mozart-effect literature with human subjects.
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Kenneth M. Steele; Unconvincing Evidence That Rats Show a Mozart Effect. Music Perception 1 July 2006; 23 (5): 455–458. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2006.23.5.455
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