News Stories

Mozart Effect NOT

Looking at a person's brain while they are listening to music can yield valuable insights into how the mind works. However, music theorist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis claims the idea that listening to Mozart boosts brainpower is NOT TRUE.

Margulis says, "Studies about music move into the popular media and can get mistranslated, transmitting potentially misleading information." She points to the popularity of the "Mozart effect"--the research that showed improved spatial reasoning after listening to Mozart--as an example of unintentional distortion of scientific research about music.

Popular belief that exposure to classical music makes children smarter has persisted despite the subsequent discovery that listening to Chopin or Lynyard Skynyrd or 50 Cent can produce the same effect. Though unsupported by subsequent research, belief in a Mozart effect has been observed to fit in well with a cultural bias for classical music and parental anxiety about the intellectual development of their children.

Margulis says, "Now, 14 years after the publication of the original article, tiny powdered-wigged Mozart profiles continue, bizarrely, to adorn the packages of myriad Eine kleine Nachtmusik-playing baby toys."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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