In 1993, the supposed enhancement in intelligence after listening to classical music became very popular. Known as the Mozart Effect, a paper reported that college students who listened to about 10 minutes of Mozart showed significant improvements on spatial reasoning tasks. However, the finding didn't say anything about long-term enhancement of spatial ability or of intelligence in general. Yet, later researchers suggested that listening to Mozart rather than other composers might have produced greater emotional arousal, causing the effect. They also found that listening to a passage from a scary story produced similar spatial ability. These findings suggest that the Mozart Effect is a short-term arousal and anything that boosts alertness is likely to increase performance on mentally demanding tasks.
Even with research suggesting otherwise, toy companies and popular press still took advantage of the Mozart Effect and ran with it. They marketed Mozart Effect CD's/cassettes and claimed that listening to that music would boost infant intelligence. It worked so well because parents are always looking for ways to easily educate and enhance their child's' intellect. However, despite trying to create miniature geniuses, the Mozart Effect is unlikely to produce long-term effects on spatial ability or overall intelligence.
Getting ready for finals? Here's a little Mozart music to help you prepare:)