If you've ever felt it is easier to concentrate while listening to classical music, you may be right, as researchers have determined that listening to Mozart can help people focus and improve their brain performance.
A study found that listening to a minuet helps significantly increase concentration on a task.
They conducted the study by having participants perform a Stroop task while listening to a Mozart minuet, a Mozart minuet with dissonant intervals and complete silence. The Stroop task is a famous test used to measure mental performance. It asks participants to identify the color of words. For instance, "blue" could be spelled out on the screen in the color green. The test taker must classify that word as "green" because of its color.
Amongst all age groups in the study, those who listened to a Mozart minuet while taking the test did better.
When the dissonant music was playing, it took both age groups longer to identify the correct colors and there were more mistakes.
Researchers say that the findings indicate the brain's preference for consonant, flowing music, and also indicate the important affect of music on cognitive function.
They said an added benefit of listening to consonant music is that it can help people ignore distractions.
"Music evolved for helping to overcome the predicament of stress that arises from holding contradictory cognitions so that knowledge is not discarded but rather can be accumulated, and human culture can evolve," Professor Nobuo Masataka said.
Mozart in particular has been found to produce cognitive benefits when listened to, and scientists regularly refer to this as the "Mozart Effect."