You’ve likely the heard of the Mozart Effect before, or at least the theory behind it. For nearly 25 years it has been the talk of the town, with parents around the world hoping that it is the answer to what they want most – a highly intelligent child. However, it may not be all that it seems, or what people hope it is, and the aim of this article is to take a closer look and ask if there is truth to the theory or if it has been exaggerated.
What is the Mozart Effect?
In 1993, Nature released a study that showed the correlation between students listening to Mozart and their performance in spatial reasoning tests. The results were that when they did listen to Mozart while studying, their spatial reasoning abilities were increased for around 15 minutes after, so they performed better in the tests that followed.
The initial study certainly produced interesting results, and the scientific community was intrigued, but once the media got hold of the study, things were blown out of proportion, and a lot of hype was created. As a side note, recent work has shown that any music a person enjoys listening to has the safe effect on spatial reasoning as well.
What’s with the Hype?
When the study was published in mainstream media, the concept of spatial reasoning was replaced with intelligence, and it was immediately thought that listening to Mozart made your kids smarter. Whole ranges of toys and educations CDs were released, and it got to the point that some hospitals even sent babies home from the hospital with a Mozart CD to give them a head start in life.
It became the latest trend, and even though the miscommunication has been cleared up, there is still a lot out there that encourages you to get your children listening to Mozart so that they have a better chance at school and in the adult world. It is worth having your child listen to classical music though, not just because it is often very relaxing, but because improved spatial reasoning is also a good and useful thing to have.
Can Classical Music Improve IQ?
Listening to Mozart won’t make you, or your children, any smarter, but playing it just might be the answer. Learning an instrument and practising it regularly engages the brain on a whole other level, and helps to improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that when you learn to play a musical instrument, after a year of hard work you could see your IQ go up by three points, which is really quite impressive.
In reality, the hype surrounding the Mozart Effect really is just an exaggeration of the truth, because it never actually showed an increase in intelligence in the first place. The original undertakers of the study were looking at spatial reasoning, which falls into a similar category, but is quite different. However, there are other ways music can help us, especially when we are looking to concentrate and be more productive.
Source: Dan J