The Mozart Effect

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preg.jpgSomething I remember from my Childhood was my mother telling me why she believe I was so smart. She told me that while she was pregnant with me she would clamp some headphones around her belly and play classical music, similar to the included picture. I was much to young to understand the reasoning behind this but even today I still have a taste for Classical piano pieces. Today, I understand that what she was doing is known as the "Mozart Effect" and was discovered by Rauscher, who actually first saw this effect displayed in adults who listened to a specific piece by Mozart and who had increased spatial reasoning skills for some time after listening.

Now the effects were not permanent and only increased spatial/Temporal skills by a certain amount. The study was plauged by controversy and some other researchers were unable to reproduce the effects of the study. There were Impressive Results, Therefore, equally impressive evidence was necessary.

Some disputers of the study suggested that the after-effects depended on enjoyment arousal, meaning the subjects had to enjoy this genre of music to be able to get the effects. Other studies have proven that humans can perform mental tasks with more efficiency when a stimulus is present, such as enjoyable music. This is a possible rival Hypothesis to this study. To combat this, some studies were done with Mice. Mice were exposed to Mozart and several other genres of music and even white noise or Silence while in utero, and 60 days after. When the Mice were tested on completing a maze, the Mozart group finished significantly faster and with less errors. This makes enjoyment and unlikely factor.

Sometime after, The long-term effects of this music were studied in children. Musical Instruction was given to the children along, while another group learned computer skills and yet another had no training at all. The group who received musical instruction for six months got a 30% higher score on a spatial reasoning test calibrated for their age than the children who learned computer skills, and this remained unchanged for 24 hours, effects after that were not tested.

These such studies lead to the explosion of the popular "Baby Mozart" trend. Many CD's containing classical music meant for fetus' and infants were produced. I have found many conflicting results of these products, some saying they were effective and some saying that this is pure myth. In either case, I am thankful my mother took the initiative and tested it out. No harm done but it very possibly gave me an advantage over the other preschoolers. :D


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Could there be another variable influencing the studies? For example, could it be that certain types of parents might listen to Mozart more? Can we make causal conclusions? Overall nice post.

Be sure to link to your sources.

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This page contains a single entry by shoen018 published on November 8, 2011 2:55 PM.

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