Monday, May 17, 2010

The Mozart Effect, Effectively Dead

So now it's official: the "Mozart Effect" is bogus.

According to University of Vienna researchers Jakob Pietschnig, Martin Voracek and Anton K. Formann listening to Mozart won't make you smarter. According to Science Digest

The comprehensive study of studies synthesizes the entirety of the scientific record on the topic. Retrieved for this systematic investigation were about 40 independent studies, published ones as well as a number of unpublished academic theses from the US and elsewhere, totaling more than 3000 participants.

The University of Vienna researchers' key finding is clear-cut: based on the culminated evidence, there remains no support for gains in spatial ability specifically due to listening to Mozart music.

Many parents over the past 15 years purchased Baby Genius and Mozart Effect music (and many other such series) to make their babies smarter -- to no avail.

I, for one, am glad. Mozart, unlike spinach, shouldn't be consumed just because it's good for you. It's time to stop treating him as such. Plus, if Mozart isn't something the parents normally listen to, then any "exposure" won't do much, either. Kids are very quick to figure out that things parents don't participate in aren't that important.

Want your kids to be familiar with classical music? You need to listen to it yourself. Want them to be readers? You need to read books, too. Is it important for your kids to be active? Then you have to turn off the computer and get out there, too.
"I recommend listening to Mozart to everyone, but it will not meet expectations of boosting cognitive abilities," says Jakob Pietschnig, lead author of the study.
I concur. Everyone should listen to Mozart. Not because it will make you smarter, but just because.

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