Mozart Effect

MozartHave you ever heard about the Mozart Effect?

Without sounding too technical “spatial-temporal reasoning” is a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks. Now, an elaborated set of research results indicate that listening to Mozart’s music may induce this improvement. Some people simply put it this way “Listening to Mozart makes you smarter”, or that early childhood exposure to classical music has a beneficial effect on mental development.

The Mozart Effect started really going, back in the 90’s, with Rauscher and Shaw, who investigated the effect of listening to music by Mozart on spatial reasoning. These authors found that the mean standard age scores converted into IQ scores were 8 to 9 points higher after the participants had listened to the music than after either of the other two conditions: repetitive relaxation music and silence. Rauscher and Shaw also concluded that the enhancing effect of the music condition is only temporary (15 minutes?).

A popular book by Don Campbell arose wide spread interest. Some politicians even made budgets available for playing classical music in pre-schools.

Now other research show not all music creates the Mozart Effect. A German study even concluded that passively listening to Mozart — or indeed any other music you enjoy — does not make you smarter. Other studies prove there is no impact at all.

So, is this made up? Does the Mozart Effect really exist? What’s your opinion?

I personally am convinced that music you enjoy brings you in an other (mental, physical) state, making it more likely to perform outstanding, compared to no music or no change of state and consequently moderate results.  I use music to “pump” myself up before going on stage and I know there is a significant difference when I don’t do that. But does this mean I raise my IQ after doing that? Of does it improve my “spatial-temporal reasoning”? I am not convinced, but hey, I am probably too old to measure this. Most research was done with children. Maybe an idea for researchers to fund a new project on the Mozart Effect with adults? Or do we no longer have beneficial effects on mental development? 🙂

Anyway, I am curious to hear your feedback on the Mozart Effect!

Enjoy the music,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach


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