The Joys of Spring: Changes in mental alertness and brain function

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This study used Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, an extraordinary example of program music, to explore the consequence of music exposure on cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs). Seventeen participants performed a three-stimulus visual odd-ball task while ERPs were recorded. Participants were required to differentiate between a rare target stimulus (to elicit a memory updating component; P3b), a rare novel stimulus (to elicit a novelty attention component; P3a), and a frequent nontarget stimulus. During task performance participants listened to the four concertos: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in comparison to a silent control condition. Additionally, the three movements of each concerto have a fast, slow, fast structure that enabled examination of the impact of tempo. The data revealed that “Spring,” particularly the well-recognized, vibrant, emotive, and uplifting first movement, had the ability to enhance mental alertness and brain measures of attention and memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
JournalExperimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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