Fertility and pregnancy * Babies and children

Mozart does not boost IQ

Another myth debunked

Listening to Mozart will not boost your intelligence, new research has found. So if you have been playing Eine Kleine Nachtmusic around the clock hoping to improve your child's performance at school, take a break and listen to something else.

The so called "Mozart effect" first came to the public's attention in 1993, when a study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature reported that listening to Mozart's 1781 sonata for two pianos in D major (KV 488) improved college students cognitive abilities compared with students who listed to other music or none at all.

Since then sales of Mozart CDs for children have become popular, and in 1998 the state of Georgia even gave every mother of a newborn baby a free classical music CD.

However, the findings of the study met with scepticism in the scientific community and other studies failed to achieve the same results.

To determine once and for all whether the Mozart effect really exists, psychologists from the University of Vienna analysed the results of 40 different studies involving over 3000 people worldwide.

The researchers say the findings are clear cut: the Mozart effect is no more than a myth.

"I recommend listening to Mozart to everyone, but it will not meet expectations of boosting cognitive abilities," says Dr Jakob Pietschnig, who led the study.

The Mozart effect was recently ranked sixth in the book '50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology', authored by psychologist Scott E. Lilienfield.

The findings are published in the journal Intelligence.

This article was published on Tue 11 May 2010

Image © Bambuh - Fotolia.com

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