Improved maze learning through early music exposure in rats

Rats were exposed in utero plus 60 days postpartum to either complex music (Mozart Sonata (k. 448)), minimalist music (a Philip Glass composition), white noise or silence, and were then tested for five days, three trials per day, in a multiple T-maze. By Day 3, the rats exposed to the Mozart work completed the maze more rapidly and with fewer errors than the rats assigned to the other groups. The difference increased in magnitude through Day 5.

This suggests that repeated exposure to complex music induces improved spatial-temporal learning in rats, resembling results found in humans. Taken together with studies of enrichment-induced neural plasticity, these results suggest a similar neurophysiological mechanism for the effects of music on spatial learning in rats and humans.


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