Blame Your Parents

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baby-headphones.jpgDon't you wish you were a little smarter? Who doesn't? You can only blame your parents for your lack of intelligence. If only they would have had you listen to Mozart as a baby, then you would be getting an "A" in psychology and finding cures to cancer.

An article that was published in the journal Nature declared that college students who listened to Mozart improved their scores on spatial reasoning tasks. This became known as the Mozart Effect, and companies went wild. They made CD's for babies and claimed that listening to classical music would boost their intelligence. One website that advertises such products is

However, more recent research has revealed that there is no such "Mozart Effect". The original finding in 1993 was used on college students and did not imply that the effects could be generalized to babies. It also did not say that it would result in the long-term enhancement of intelligence. This can be further explained here.

The Mozart Effect can be evaluated using the Six Principles of Scientific Thinking. First, the principle of Replicability can be used. Researchers had a difficult time replicating the original findings of the study in 1993. Many couldn't find the effect, and others found that its effects were trivial or were of short duration. So because the results of the original experiment could not be duplicated, its findings cannot be considered reliable.

The second Principle of Scientific Thinking that can be used to evaluate the Mozart Effect is Occam's Razor. This principle looks for a simpler explanation of the data. Researchers have suggested that the Mozart Effect may be due to a greater state of arousal found after listening to the music. Anything that boosts one's arousal or alertness, will likely increase his/her performance on a mentally demanding task.

Because the original findings of the Mozart Effect cannot be replicated, and because a simpler explanation fits the data, we can declare the claims of the Mozart Effect to be unreliable. We can no longer look to blame our parents for failing to play Mozart for us; they knew all along that listening to classical music wouldn't help us in the long run.

Picture taken from:

"Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding" Textbook

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This page contains a single entry by meye1816 published on November 6, 2011 12:39 PM.

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