What is Mozart Effect? Does it make us smarter?

In recent years the so- called “Mozart Effect” has become very popular . According to those defending the existence of this phenomenon, listening to the music of Austrian composers, or classical music in general, increases intelligence and other cognitive abilities, especially during early development

Even though scientific research suggests that there is an anecdotal part of these kinds of confirmations, the truth is that a review of the existing literature suggests that the potential benefits of listening to music have been overshadowed, at least in the area of ​​intelligence.

What is Mozart Effect? Does it make us smarter?
What is Mozart Effect? Does it make us smarter?

What is the Mozart Effect?

What we know as the “Mozart effect” is the hypothesis that listening to Mozart’s music increases intelligence and has cognitive benefits in infants and young children, although there are some who say that these effects also apply to adults. are there.

Most studies that have examined the existence of this phenomenon have focused on Mozart’s Sonata K448 for Two PianosSimilar properties are attributed to other piano compositions by the same author and to many similar works in terms of structure, melody, harmonies and tempo.

Broadly speaking, this concept can be used to refer to the idea that music, especially classical music, is therapeutic for people and/or enhances their intellectual abilities.

Benefits of music

The clear beneficial effects of music are related to emotional health. Humans have used this art since ancient times as a method to reduce stress and improve mood, both consciously and without realizing it.

In this sense, we are currently talking about music therapy to refer to interventions that aim to reduce psychological discomfort, improve cognitive functions, develop motor skills, or facilitate the acquisition of social skills, among other purposes. To use music.

Much was confirmed by recent scientific research that was believed to be: music therapy is effective for reducing the symptoms of mental disorders such as depression, dementia, or schizophrenia, and also for reducing the risk of cardiovascular accidents.

History and Popularization

The book “Pourquoi Mozart” by the French otolaryngologist Alfred Tomatis in the 90s? The appearance of (“Why Mozart?”) led to the Mozart effect becoming popular. This researcher said that listening to Mozart’s music can have therapeutic effects on the brain and promote its development.

However, it was Don Campbell who popularized the concept of Tomatis through his book “The Mozart Effect”. Campbell attributed the beneficial properties of Mozart’s music to “healing the body, strengthening the mind, and liberating the creative spirit”, as the book’s expanded title states.

Campbell’s work was based on a study by researchers Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Catherine Q that was published a few years ago in the journal Nature. However, this study only showed a slight improvement in spatial reasoning up to 15 minutes after listening to Sonata K448.

Articles in the New York Times or the Boston Globe also contributed to the current fame of the Mozart effect. All this began to form a business with music compilations after the publication of literature believed to have intellectual benefits, especially for children, since Campbell also wrote the book “The Mozart Effect for Children”.

Investigations on the Mozart Effect

They markedly exaggerate the findings of the study, confirmed by Campbell and the articles cited by de Rauscher et al., who found only modest evidence of a possible short-term improvement in spatial reasoning. In no way can it be deduced from existing research that music increases IQ, at least directly.

In general, experts say that the Mozart effect is an experimental artifact that would be explained by the euphoric effects of certain musical compositions and the increased brain activation they produce. Both factors are related to the improvement of cognitive functions in the short term.

Therefore, the benefits of the Mozart effect, which are real in a certain way, are not specific to this author’s work or to classical music, but are shared by many other compositions and even very different activities, such as reading. or game.

On the other hand, and although it has not been shown that listening to classical music during early development is necessarily beneficial, the practice of a musical instrument can promote children’s emotional well-being and cognitive development if it makes them intellectually motivated and stimulated. does. Something similar happens with art and other forms of creativity.

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