Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Edward A. Roth

Second Advisor

Dr. David S. Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Johnson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until



Since the publication of Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky’s study in 1993 on the “Mozart Effect”, the study of music and its effect on cognition and performance has gained significant attention. Roth and Smith (2008) investigated this “Mozart Effect” and suggested a continuation of research and interpretation through an arousal theory. This study examined the effects of a subject-identified arousing stimulus on performance on the Verbal Reasoning portion of the GRE, analyzed through an arousal theory framework. A sample of 24 non-music Western Michigan University students took part in one 60-minute testing period using subject-preferred music, which was then analyzed across four time blocks. Music was administered in three time blocks, and a fourth time block did not receive any music. Pairwise t-test comparisons indicated that testing time blocks which received music, demonstrated improved testing performance when compared to the testing blocks which did not receive music. Overall, silent testing Block 4 (M = 4.9, SE = 3.42) demonstrated the lowest mean quantity of questions answered correctly when compared to all other testing time blocks. Furthermore, conclusions from this study suggest that the quality of testing performance declines over time; as indicated by a decrease in the mean quantity of questions answered correctly across testing blocks: Block 2 (M = 8.2, SE = 3.44), Block 1 (M = 7.0, SE = 3.48), t(23) = -2.551, p