Listening to Mozart Won't Make Your Child Smarter

Studies show no evidence of the so-called 'Mozart Effect,' Austrian researchers say

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FRIDAY, May 14, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- For years, research showing a link between listening to Mozart and increased brainpower spurred parents to expose their tots to the great composer.

But now, a new Austrian review finds there's no evidence that listening to Mozart -- however glorious the music -- will do anything for anyone's cognitive powers.

In particular, the findings debunked the myth of improved spatial task performance among Mozart listeners.

University of Vienna psychologists examined more than 40 studies and unpublished research that included more than 3,000 subjects. Their conclusion: nothing supports the idea that Mozart music improves what's known as spatial ability.

"I recommend listening to Mozart to everyone, but it will not meet expectations of boosting cognitive abilities," study author Jakob Pietschnig, a psychologist at the University of Vienna, said in a news release from the school.

The researchers report that they couldn't confirm the beneficial effects of listening to Mozart music, as suggested in a famous 1993 study published in Nature that focused on spatial abilities. That research led to a tremendous amount of interest in exposing babies and children to classical music, and businesses rushed to sell it to schools, day-care centers and parents.

The review appears online May 10 in the journal Intelligence.

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Curious about how your brain works? Check out Harvard University's Whole Brain Atlas.

SOURCE: University of Vienna, press release, May 10, 2010.

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