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Classical Music and Cognitive Tasks *

Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Does listening to classical music help or hinder concentration and performance on cognitive tasks? You'll need help from a teacher to design two short, age-appropriate worksheet tests for this experiment. The tests should be of equal difficulty. You'll also need the cooperation of several additional classroom teachers in order to test enough students (at least 50-100, see the Science Buddies resource: How Many Participants Do I Need?). Half the students will take test A while listening to classical music and test B with no background music. The other half of the students will take test B while listening to classical music and test A with no background music. Analyze the scores to see if there are differences in performance between the music and non-music conditions. You should also be able to show that the two tests are equally difficult under the same conditions (or use the averaged results to correct for any difference in difficulty between the two tests). (Ritblatt, 2004)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Classical Music and Cognitive Tasks" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Music_p003.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 6). Classical Music and Cognitive Tasks. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Music_p003.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-06


Ritblatt, N.S., 2004. "How Does Classical Music Affect Cognitive Tasks in K–1st Grade Children?" California State Science Fair Abstract [accessed August 23, 2006] http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2004/Projects/J1716.pdf

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