Mozart Effect Research Paper

Despite the popularity of the Mozart effect, experiments on the relationship between music and spatial reasoning have produced inconsistent results, and there has been no direct evidence for enhancement of overall intelligence.

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In 1998, Governor Zell Miller’s budget proposition allocated $105,000 to buying classical music CDs for every newborn in the state of Georgia.

In 2000, a South China Morning Post article read that “babies who hear Così Fan Tutte or the ‘Mass in C Minor’ during gestation are likely to come out of the womb smarter than their peers,” and the Times of India has referred to the Mozart effect as “music curry for the soul.” Although the idea that listening to classical music increases intelligence has become popular worldwide, most scientific evidence fails to support such a connection.

In one study, researchers observed that the Mozart effect received more newspaper coverage in American states with weaker educational systems.

Professor Chip Heath of Stanford University, one of the leading researchers, proposes that people always grapple for solutions to complex problems, even if those solutions are “highly distorted, bogus things like the Mozart effect.” Along these lines, Yale Professor Edward Zigler and Harvard Assistant Professor Stephanie M.

Writer Don Campbell, credited with coining and reserving legal rights to the phrase “Mozart effect,” profited from the sensation as well, publishing his book The Mozart Effect in 1997.

Recent interest has been focused on the rapid proliferation of the Mozart effect myth and what it may imply about the state of education.

Another study in 2001 involved three listening conditions — silence, an upbeat Mozart piece, and a slow, sad piece by a different composer — and found that elevated spatial test scores corresponded to high arousal rates following the Mozart condition.

These studies either argued that listening to music has no influence on spatial cognition, or that it has short-term effects attributed wholly to arousal.

According to Andrew Kobets, MED ’11, “Studying this phenomenon and other effects of music on our neurobiology will certainly be continued in the future, but it is extremely difficult to do well-controlled studies.

Progress will require controlling the musical experiences of several individuals over a period of time to demonstrate if cognitive changes can be maintained.” For this reason, while popular myth may have easily provoked a 5,000 stipend in 1998, today’s research finds money in much shorter supply.


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