Classical Music: The Mozart Effect Essay

Classical Music: The Mozart Effect Essay

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The Mozart effect is a phenomena whereby listening to ten minutes of Mozart’s music, a person’s spatial IQ is boosted by 8-9 points (on the Stanford-Binet IQ Scale), in comparison to listening to ten minutes of a relaxation tape or silence (Rauscher, Shaw and Ky, 1993). This literature review critically assesses the key works and concepts concerning the Mozart effect, specifically its methodologies, its limits, and finally, alternative theories. While some academics argue that ‘listening to Mozart makes babies smarter’ is a valid claim (___,__;____,__), others denounce it (___,__;___,__). While the Mozart effect does show temporarily increased spatial IQ, it does not support the claim that ‘listening to Mozart makes babies smarter’. When the term ‘smarter’ is used throughout this literature review, it refers to the overall cognitive function of the person, not just a specific domain (such as spatial reasoning). Similarly, when the term ‘babies’ is used, it refers to infants in the early developmental stages. A wide range of sources, such as journal articles, research papers, and a meta-analysis, will be critically reviewed to provide support for the claim that listening to Mozart does not make babies smarter.
Only Tested on Babies
The majority of researchers and theorists that have published work regarding the Mozart effect hold one of two views: that it increases spatial IQ, or that it doesn’t. There are copious amounts of arguments as to why or why not Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky’s original 1993 study showed that listening to Mozart makes babies smarter, but the research claim falls down in several areas. Foremost, the studies that have been conducted over the years have been tested on a range of age groups: adults (Daniels, Henley...


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...performance. Nature, 365(1), 611.
5. Pietsching, J., Voracek, M., & Formann, A.K. (2010). Mozart effect-Shmozart effect: A meta-analysis. Intelligence, 38(1), 314-323.
6. Leech, C. Musical Opinion. 2006. 130(1): 20. ‘The Mozart effect: Who needs it?’
7. Thompson, W.F., Schellenberg, G.E., & Husain G. (2001), Arousal, mood, and the Mozart effect. Psychological Science, 12(3), 248-251.
8. Hui, K. (2006). Mozart effect in preschool children? Early Childhood Development and Care, 176(3-4), 411-419.
9. Noonan, P. (2007). Tempo, arousal and the underlying mechanisms of the Mozart effect. (Masters Dissertation). Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses database. http://search.proquest.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/docview/881641564
10. Nantais, K. M. & Schellenberg, E. G. (1999). The Mozart Effect: An artefact of preference. Psychological Science, 10(4), 370-373.


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