Ever hear of the Mozart Effect? It refers to a set of research results which pointed to the finding that hearing Mozart’s sonatas induced improvements in short term memory, especially on spatial-temporal reasoning tasks. According to Dzhingarov.com, this finding has led to several hypotheses such as children who are exposed to Mozart’s music at an early age may benefit intellectually. The Mozart Effect has also led to the creation of a US trademark of commercial materials claiming to improve spatio-temporal IQ.
Further studies examining the Mozart Effect were pursued at the University of California Irvine. Scientists there ran a study to find out if IQ can be improved by listening to specific types of music. These researchers found that participants who were exposed to at least ten minutes of Mozart’s piano sonata acquired higher scores on the spatial intelligence test than participants who wrote the test without any music exposure. Psychologists also observed that when participants listened to another type of music, i.e. a rhythmic dance or a hypnotic piece, no improvement in test scores were observed. This same study found that students who listened to Sonata for Two Pianos also by Mozart, for at least ten minutes before a test in spatial and abstract reasoning also performed better than peers who were exposed to ten minutes of relaxation or ten minutes of silence.
What can be deduced from this finding? While embracing technology, it appears as though complex musical compositions, such as Mozart’s sonatas, seem to stimulate the neural pathways in the brain that deal with spatial temporal reasoning. This lends support to the possibility that listening to Mozart’s music may improve your IQ score.
In a study published in Neurological Research by Shaw and Rauscher, researchers found that preschoolers who were taking piano lessons had a 34% improvement in temporal and spatial reasoning abilities than preschoolers who were spending the same amount of time manipulating the use of computers.
While these studies do not directly link listening to music to an increase in IQ, it is clear that listening to Mozart’s sonatas improves performance on tests and tasks that require spatial and temporal reasoning. Apart from its role in IQ, the idea of the Mozart Effect has had a significant impact on society. Apart from parents insisting on playing Mozart for their children, in 1998 the Governor of Georgia insisted on setting aside funds from the state budget so every newborn child could have a CD of Mozart sonatas. Mozart’s musical magic is not just for humans. A mozzarella farmer in Italy who was visited by psychologist Sergio Della Salla stated that his buffalos were exposed to Mozart’s music at least three times per day. As a result, his buffalos were able to produce larger quantities of milk.
It is unclear whether listening to Mozart’s music can lead to an increase in production of buffalo or babies can get smarter. More scientific research needs to be conducted into the matter.