Does Playing Mozart to Babies Make Them Smarter? Essay

Does Playing Mozart to Babies Make Them Smarter? Essay

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The Mozart Effect Resource Centre website, music educator Don Campbell made the claim that “classical music has a powerful effect on the intellectual and creative development of children from the very youngest of ages.” (Campbell, n.d.). To critically evaluate this claim a number of sources have been analysed. Through this analysis it was found that the claim cannot be supported by reliable empirical research and that classical music only produces short-term cognitive enhancement. This effect can be achieved by listening to any type of music. The first main theme found in the literature was that listening to classical music such as Mozart produced only short term increased cognitive abilities and did not aid the intellectual development of children. Secondly it was found that much of the testing on the topic was not reliable, contained many uncontrolled variables and there was little information relating to babies directly. Finally, many sources corroborated to agree that the same affect could be yielded from other types of music such as rock and pop.
The literature reviewed found that listening to classical music, in particular music written by Mozart produced only short term, if any, increased cognitive abilities and did not aid the intellectual development of children. This contradicts the claim made by Don Campbell of the Mozart effect resource website. Rauscher, Shaw and Ky (1993) the group who first coined the term ‘Mozart effect’ reported on a study investigating the effects of listening to Mozart on spatial task performance in adolescents. It was found in this study that listening to Mozart did in fact increase spatial task performance. However the enhanced effect only lasted 10 to 15 minutes (Rauscher, Shaw & Ky, 1993). ...

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...I: 10.1016/S0193-3973(02)00113-2

Mcelvie, P., Low, J. (2002). Listening to Mozart does not improve children's spatial ability: Final curtains for the Mozart effect. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20(1), 241-259. Retrieved from

Pietschnig, J., Voracek, M., Formann, A. (2010). Mozart effect–Shmozart effect: A meta-analysis. Intelligence, 38(3), 314-323. Retrieved from

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., Ky, K. N. (1993). Musical and Spatial Task Performance. Nature, 365, 661.

Taylor, J. M., Rowe, B. J. (2012). The "Mozart Effect" and the Mathematical Connection. College reading and learning, 42(2), 51-6. Retrieved from

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