Mozart’s music doesn’t make you smarter

The “Mozart effect” takes a blow after scientists look back at all the studies

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Listening to Mozart doesn’t increase intelligence, scientists have said after reviewing all the studies done on the subject since 1993. But listening to all types of music is better than silence, it seems.

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Why 1993? Well, that was the year the scientific study that started the “Mozart effect” phenomenon was published. The study was tiny – it involved just 36 people – and those people were teenagers listening to one of Mozart’s sonatas while doing reasoning tests. The finding was the catalyst for American childcare centres playing classical music to the children and the state of Georgia, USA, handing out a free classical music CDs to newborns, reports the Telegraph.

Since then, the “Mozart effect” has been the subject of 40 studies worldwide, involving 3,000 individuals. These studies were recently analysed by a team of researchers from Vienna University’s Faculty of Psychology. They have found no proof that the “Mozart effect” exists.

“Those who listened to music, Mozart or something else – Bach, Pearl Jam – had better results than the silent group. But we already knew people perform better if they have a stimulus,” said Jakob Pietschnig, who led the recent review.

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“I recommend everyone listen to Mozart, but it’s not going to improve cognitive abilities as some people hope.”

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