The Mozart Effect Does classical music really help you study better? Many recent research studies show that music idoes in fact improve cognitive thinking. In 1993, researchers at the University of California at Irvine discovered the so-called Mozart Effect - that college students “who listened to ten minutes of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K448 before taking an IQ test scored nine points higher” than when they had sat in silence or listened to relaxation tapes. Other studies have also indicated that it doesn’t matter the artist; people retain information better if they hear classical or baroque music while studying. The most easily influenced stage of human life is early childhood, therefore it is encouraged that children listen to classical music.
There is limited literature centered on an infant age group to support the notion that babies will become smarter through exposure to Mozart’s symphonies. Rauscher, Shaw and Ky (1993) devised an experiment initiating the theory now known as the ‘Mozart Effect’. The study examined the possible effect the exposure to three differing conditions; silence, a relaxation tape and a Mozart piece had on college student’s ability to perform spatial tasks, and hence the effect on their spatial IQ scores (Rauscher et al. 1993). Rauscher et al.
The Mozart Effect implies that playing Mozart to a baby will increase its cognitive abilities, a claim which has instigated a rapidly increasing market of “CDS to make your baby smarter”. This claim, despite having partial merit and widespread popular acceptance, is fundamentally incorrect. Through the analysis of various attempted replication studies, it is abundantly clear that the ‘Mozart Effect’ is a falsehood. This is evidenced by: the prominent lack of longevity and replication of successful results; the evaluation of arousal levels on spatial and cognitive enhancement; and, finally, the investigation of procedural flaws in key studies. While playing Mozart can marginally increase spatial performance, the longevity of the increase is doubtful.
In the scientific community the Mozart Effect has been critically disputed resulting in multiple experiments attempting disprove the theory. Ultimately, many of the experiments had large gaps with results focusing on the Mozart Effect being preformed on adolescent or young adult students. However, evidence can be provided to support that with musical instruction (the learning of an instrument), children can improve their IQ and learning abilities. Ultimately, it can be seen through scientific literature that the Mozart Effect (the listening of Mozart music by infants) has little to no credibility or proof to support the claim of it in increasing the IQ of infants.
To many, this allegation seemed a bit far-fetched and soon other researchers began recreating the Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky experiment in hopes of discrediting their findings. The conclusions that resulted confirmed that the skeptics were right: the evidence was inconclusive and revealed that music did not make the listener “smarter”. These findings, however, did not stop weary parents from stocking up on Baby Mozart CD’s in hopes that their little one will one day grow up to be the next Einstein. The original experiment of Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky was published in the 1993 issue of Nature. Thirty-six college students were to listen to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata in D major for Two Pianos, K488.
The global market jumped on the new phenomenon and entrepreneurs, such as Don Campbell (1997), have produced products including CDs, videotapes and books aimed at families with infants and children. Lack of evidence and unsupported links between Mozart and improved intelligence poses the question; does listening to Mozart really make babies smarter? This critical literature review will comprehensively analyse the Mozart Effect and prove that the extreme lack of evidence and only momentary findings on the Mozart Effect makes it impractical to conclude that listening to Mozart has any ability to make babies smarter. The information examined will be current and relevant and sourced from scholarly or academic sources such as books, journal articles, reports and web resources. The short-term effects, insufficient methodologies and various other causes behind the Mozart Effect will be studied throughout the report to prove that listening to Mozart does not make babies smarter.
To revert back to the original question, does Mozart make babies smarter, it’s hard to say because of the lack of studies based on the effects of Mozart’s music on babies. It is also difficult to ‘measure’ a baby’s intelligence; however the music has shown temporary positive effects in younger children and adolescents. The practical uses of Mozart’s music are still uncertain and need more studies to fully assess the effect, however with an increase in studies showing a similar trend, a faster conclusion can be reached.
In modern society intelligence is highly competitive and subject to scrutiny; therefore, it is understandable that a child’s intelligence is a primary concern for many parents. The Mozart effect, popularised in the 1990s, resulted in many parents believing that simply exposing their child to music composed by Mozart would improve their intelligence (Campbell, 1997). The claim was founded by research published in the journal Nature, which suggested that spatial reasoning could be temporarily enhanced by listening to one of Mozart’s compositions for ten minutes (Rauscher, Shaw & Ky, 1993). It will be argued that there is not sufficient evidence to support the claim that playing Mozart to babies will increase their intelligence. Firstly, the various study results suggested no long-term enhancement, yet the Mozart effect implies a lasting effect on intellect.
The Mozart effect is a supposed relationship between listening to Mozart’s music and an increase in intelligence. From the perspective of a parent, who only wants the best for their child, there would appear to be little downside risk. However, upon a closer examination of the literature there is little evidence to support a direct correlation between listening to Mozart and intelligence. Many of the popular trends that occur in society are the result of the bandwagon effect. The bandwagon effect is a form of groupthink whereas the more adopters of a belief there are; the more likely others will also adopt that belief.
Overall this study was very basic and had numerous flaws such as the sample size and also the variety of tests used to look at the impact of music (Rauscher, Shaw & Ky, 1993). In 1997 Don Campbell’s book The Mozart effect popularised the claim that music makes children smarter. This book created a public interest in music and brain development. The book uses Rauscher’s experiment as an example of what Mozart’s music can do which in this experiment shows a temporary increase in spatial reasoning, this however was misinterpreted by the public as an increase in IQ. The popularisation of the... ... middle of paper ... ...(3), 248-251.