Research on the Mozart Effect

Who I am
Joe Dispenza

Author and references

I have always enjoyed listening to music while I study and work. For this reason I have been preparing a mega-article on the subject for some time, which will come out at the end of September, and in doing so I came across some curious scientific research on the so-called "Mozart Effect ". 

It is a theory according to which listening to the Sonata in D major for two pianos (KV 448) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is able to cause a temporary increase in cognitive abilities.

That is, theMozart effect makes us smarter. Wow!

I then asked Gennaro Romagnoli, psychologist and psychotherapist, as well as director of the SviluppoPersonaleScientifico blog, to prepare a brief account of the scientific research that led to the discovery of the Mozart effect.

So I thank him, and I give him the floor:

A brief introduction

We live in a truly exciting time since today more than in any other time it is possible to investigate the most mysterious and complex object known to man: the brain.

In fact, technological procedures such as positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have recently been created that allow researchers to study the brain and how it works in its most detailed way.

These researches are rapidly increasing our understanding of various mental disorders and disabilities, the neurological basis of behavior, memory and learning - that is, of, literally, how we think.

Since 1989, there has been an enormous amount of scientific information on the brain. And the same development of computer science, which had become sufficient and necessary to process neuro-scientific data, optimizing the work of both researchers and doctors, led to declaring the last decade of the twenty-first century "The Decade of the brain."

Also changes in attitudes from the scientific community have added something new to this collection of knowledge.

In fact, for almost a century, the science of the mind (psychology) developed independently of the brain science (neuroscience). That is, psychologists have been interested in our mental functions and the abilities of how we learn, remember, and think. While neuroscientists have been interested in how the brain develops its functions.

It is only in the past 15 years or so that these theoretical barriers and divisions have fallen.

From this new synergy between psychology and neuroscience, new methods of investigation and new interesting theories are being born, such as the one on the Mozart effect.

Early research on the Mozart Effect

One of the first experiments on the effect of music on the brain was conducted in 1988, when neurobiologist Gordon Shaw, along with graduate student Xiaodan Lung, attempted to study brain activity through a computer at the University of California at Irvine.

They discovered in the simulations that nerve cells are linked together with groups of other cells predisposed to adopt certain frequencies in based on specific musical rhythms.  

Two other researchers later joined, Frances Rauscher and Katherine Ky, in the creation of a study which was renamed the "Mozart Effect". On October 14, 1993, the experiment was published by the journal Nature, which published a brief summary of the results of their experiment.

(NOTE: the journal "Nature" is the most prestigious scientific journal in the world)

The experiment went like this. A group of people listened to Mozart's selection (Sonata in D major for two pianos, K488). A second group listened to what was called a "relaxation tape" and the third group was subjected to ten minutes of silence.

All the students had the same test, which was designed to measure the spatial QU.

It is a test called Stanford-Binet, and measures intelligence from the point of view of spatial reasoning.

The first type of this test dated back to 1905 and included elements such as:

  • Gripping caused by a tactile stimulus
  • Gripping caused by a visual perception
  • Recognition of different food flavors
  • Execution of simple commands and imitations of simple gestures
  • Verbal knowledge of objects
  • Verbal knowledge of images
  • Naming of designated objects
  • Immediate comparison of two lines of different lengths
  • The repetition of three figures
  • Comparison of two weights
  • Suggestionabilità
  • Verbal definition of known objects
  • The repetition of sentences of fifteen words
  • Comparison of objects known from memory
  • Memory exercise on photos
  • Drawing a design from memory
  • The immediate repetition of the figures
  • The similarities of several known objects date from memory
  • Length Comparison
  • Five weights to be put in order

Students who listened to the Mozart sonata on average they had a 9 point increase in their IQ compared to the average of students who had listened to the relaxation tape or who had experienced simple silence.

The IQ increase of the Mozart group, however, was transitory, that is, it only lasted the time necessary to take the test: ten to fifteen minutes.

Later experiments on the Mozart effect

Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky repeated the experiment in 1995 by dividing, this time, seventy-nine students in three groups. Again, the group that had heard Mozart's selection showed an increase in space IQ scores.

In addition, a further test showed that listening to other types of music (more modern "dance" music) did not have the same effect.

In 1995, researchers (Newman, Rosenbach, Burns, Latimer, Matocha, and Vogt) at the State University of New York at Albany replicated the initial evidence. However, they expanded the test group to 114 subjects, and the spread of age from 18 to 51 years, with an average age of 27,3.

Result? Not only did they find a similar increase in IQ after listening to Mozart, but subjects who heard background music had a greater result equal to those who had previous music lessons, or otherwise did. a correlation is shown between higher IQ and subjects who have a preference for classical music.

These are therefore very interesting studies, but which have also been heavily contested by a part of the scientific community, which considers them unreliable. In the coming years, the progress of neuroscience and brain imaging techniques may perhaps give more definitive answers.

Scientific Personal Development. com


Thanks again to Gennaro Romagnoli and the SviluppoPersonaleScientifico blog for their contribution. And of course, as you will be curious about it, here is a video to listen to the music used for the experiments:

Sonata in D major for two pianos (KV 448) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

add a comment of Research on the Mozart Effect
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.