The Mozart Effect

The Mozart Effect is the term for the idea that listening to classical music will improve your intelligence. The idea is baloney, and yet it enjoys wide belief. Check out, where Don Campbell sells a variety of products that will supposedly help people use music to improve their minds and bodies. The Skeptic's Dictionary has a good article debunking the phenomenon. Now Stanford researcher Chip Heath and his colleague Adrian Bangerter have published research tracking the evolution of the idea of the Mozart Effect. They trace The concept back to a 1993 experiment that found college students experienced a slight rise in IQ when listening to classical music (other researchers were never able to duplicate these results). From there the concept took off. But even though the original experiment involved college students, it didn't take long before people were applying the idea to infants and teenagers. So Heath and Bangerter came up with the hypothesis that "the legend of the Mozart Effect grew in response to anxiety about children's education." And "Sure enough, they found that in states with the most problematic educational systems (such as Georgia and Florida), newspapers gave the most coverage to the Mozart Effect." It seems like an interesting case study of what fuels the spread of misinformation.

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Posted on Sun Jul 31, 2005


wish that worked...that and einstein pills
Posted by RAMONESxMANIA  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  07:13 PM
It probably makes them feel smarter sometimes, and they might study a little more...
Posted by X  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  09:47 AM
I always thought that the Mozart Effect was only true in relation to other types of music. Like it's best to study with Mozart not MegaDeath...
Posted by g  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  12:17 PM
Okay, this might not be the same thing I was thinking this was.

Now, I had heard that PLAYING music helped other areas of education (math, language). And that listening to music could be soothing (to calm add, adhd...etc), and that if you are going to listen to music while studying, listen to classical music, instead of VanHalen.

But curing mental disease and such?? That'd be a trick. Especially, b/c a lot of classical musicians were NUTS.
Posted by Maegan  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  01:25 PM
"Sure enough, they found that in states with the most problematic educational systems (such as Georgia and Florida), newspapers gave the most coverage to the Mozart Effect."

My thought is that the politicians in those states are unwilling to spend money on education but still want better results, so they BS themselves into thinking that the simple, and cheap, policy of putting classical music CD's in classrooms will give them those results. A classic case of people believing what they WANT to believe.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  07:19 PM
Listening to classical music is best when studying IF you like listening to music while studying because classical has no lyrics to distract you. I have read about studies being done on Mozart over other classical musicians work, and the results showed that Mozart was best and improved concentration and length of time able to concentrate in students with ADD. Anyone else hear of this? I, personally, like music while I study and find classical to be a great choice, but again, only because of the lack of lyrics.
Posted by thephrog  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  10:20 PM
This is definitely a marketing ploy. There's an entire line of expensive "Mozart Toys" for babies and toddlers, which do nothing but play Mozart tunes.
I am a software engineer, so I spend long hours
programming, which requires intense concentration and critical thinking. I find that Jazz helps me concentrate the best, and often I go to rock (The Beatles and Jethro Tull mostly) when the concentration requirements are less. The Mozart theory is a bunch of crap. It's *music* that helps, and more specifically, the music you like. I've tried listening to Mozart while studying and it had no tangible effect.
Posted by Seth Easton  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  12:47 PM
"...only true in relation to other types of music. Like it's best to study with Mozart not MegaDeath..."

I think you've nailed it there, g. Whether or not it makes you smarter all depends on what you'd be doing otherwise. Sort of like reading National Geographic.
Posted by Big Gary C in Dallas  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  05:00 PM
For one, people don't get distracted by the lyrics when listen to classical music -since there's none- So I imagine people'd mind don't wonder off to other things, thus giving them better focus, and MAYBE translate into higer IQ ON TESTS.
Posted by Tom  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  09:31 PM
If I'm supposed to be concentrating, I can't have music on. It's just too distracting.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Aug 03, 2005  at  11:17 AM
It could be true. After all, its been proven that listening to country music lowers a persons IQ by an average of 22 points. Just listen to the lyrics and you'll know why!
Posted by The Grand Exalted Oracle of Truth  on  Wed Aug 03, 2005  at  08:48 PM
Ok, all you people who say that classical music is "Less distracting"--it seems to me that you're using it like elevator music and don't really appreciate it much. I can't even imagine trying to study to Wagner or Beethoven's 9th.
Posted by Brandon  on  Mon Aug 08, 2005  at  02:12 PM
I hear ya Brandon. I can't study at all while listening to classical music. Especially the really exciting stuff like your examples. Even when I'm listening to something like Mozart (which isn't so in your face) I can't concentrate on anything else because I get so distracted listening to all the subtleties involved and concentrating on each note. I WISH I could study and listen to Mozart at the same time, but unfortunately I've tried and either I had to tune out the music or ignore my studying.
Posted by Razela  on  Tue Aug 23, 2005  at  12:51 AM
I think that music, like any noise is very distracting. I have never found it very easy to focus while listening to music. Mozart may be more soothing then VanHalen but it doesn't help me learn or study.
Posted by Anon  on  Thu Nov 03, 2005  at  08:09 AM
I thought mozart was death!
Posted by Elizabeth  on  Sat Dec 17, 2005  at  05:30 PM
I agree with you Grand Exalted Oracle of Truth, if I wanted to fall asleep I definately listen to a slower version of Mozart. What's ^ w/ the name anyway?
Posted by Jessalyn  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  08:32 PM
Mozart is too distracting. People say it is supposed to flow over you, but it doesn't. it's too subtle at times, then it's too monumental. I believe Jazz is better, because it just pumps the blood and makes the mind race with ideas and thoughts.

By the way, I'm a 12 year old who knows about all of this crap. 😛
Posted by Jazzalicious  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  11:25 AM
i've heard for the "mozart effect" to acually work you have to have it at a almost unnoticable volume. Something about the sub-concience benefiting the most from the experience.
I have used this a few times and i don't know if it made me any smarter but i do know that it does let me study for longer and somehow i am able to recall infromation from my studies easier.
I do not believe that there is much difference between the analog and digital style of recording.
😊 and i certainly do not think that you have to buy special recordings of some crack job website in order for it to work.
Posted by Martin  on  Wed Feb 08, 2006  at  04:22 AM
Music does help it helps me during school and im doing a research project for my english class and if anyone has anymore information about how music has helped them i would greatly appericate it. This is for my 11th grade english paper and i need all the help on it i can get thanks a bunch
Posted by Kaylee  on  Fri Feb 10, 2006  at  12:26 PM
Hey this is all really interesting! I've been doing tests with all sorts of music and also silence to see what's better for people to concentrate. I'd like to know if anyone else has found,heard or done anything else like this. Ta very much! 😊
Posted by Odette  on  Tue Apr 25, 2006  at  06:13 AM
Posted by Chris  on  Sun May 07, 2006  at  03:55 PM
Chris in Canada--wow, there's personal belief and then there's SCIENCE. The latter shows that your belief is nonsense--it's nothing but junk science, an unfortunate by-product of the lax standards inherent in the field of psychology. And to say that we only disagree with this if we haven't listened to Mozart is also a load--I've listened to plenty of Mozart in my life and, although I think his music is incredible, I'm rational enough to know that it isn't effecting my intelligence in any way. This whole belief is being pushed primarily by musical elitists who want to believe that their favorite music is somehow "special."
Posted by Brandon  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  10:54 AM
To Brandon-
It is not just Mozart's music that has this effect on people but classical music in general,
Although the effects might be varyed from person to person , studies (conducted by the sydney institute of music) show that there is a noticable increase in people's ability to concentrate while listening to classical music. Albeit skeptics like yourself have already come to a verdict, you simply try to prove it wrong. In closing mybe the fact that the person merly thinks that they have something that they think will help them, is enough for it to help them.
Posted by Martin  on  Fri May 26, 2006  at  06:25 PM
Martin--actually, studies show that listening to ANY music distracts you, as the brain is wired so that you cannot pay attention to more than one thing at a time. It may seem like you are paying attention to your homework and the music at the same time, but what is actually going on is that your brain is quickly (so quickly as to be virtually unnoticeable to us) switching back and forth between the two.

It's telling that the source you note is a classical music organization. I work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and I can tell you that classical venues are DESPARATE to gain new listeners in ANY WAY they can, including marketing it to naive parents who believe that it (along with reading Dostoevsky to a fetus) will help their children become the next Einstein.
Posted by Brandon  on  Sat May 27, 2006  at  12:07 PM
Classical Music, Jazz, whatever. They ALL help. If you like music while doing any activity requiring concentration. In particular, generalizing a genre as "better" for concentrating really takes the subject to a lower context-i.e. Jazz is best, Classical is best. Maybe Mozart is good, bot only certain pieces of his, as well with Jazz, not ALL jazz is good for studying. As long as the BPM and whatever other elements that contribute to stimulating optimal brainwaves for concentration are right (in conjunction with personal preference of course), then that music is best for you to concentrate. Or no music at all.
Posted by Lloyd  on  Thu Jun 08, 2006  at  01:25 AM
I personally believe if a person learns about the classical music it's self then they become smarter. When you learn how to play and instrument, theory of music and the history of music, it all relates to many things that we learn in other classes. I also believe that listening to classical music while studying helps you because the classical normally has a steady sounds with no words so it's not as distracting as something like a Green Day song. It also soothes people, that is if the person likes the classical music and can annoy a person who doesn't
Posted by Mindy  on  Mon Oct 23, 2006  at  04:16 PM
well.. with me wen i study i listen to music which helps me alot.. but wen i dnt listen to music and its all silent all the noises surrounding me distract me .. is that makes sense..
Posted by robbo is a bumtoucha  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  09:25 PM
I've been reading on alot of sites that you should listen to music like Mozart to help you concentrate instead of others like heavy metal songs in general. To me, I really think thats just not true at all...of course it all depends on the person..but say if someone is completely into metal..and you get them to listen to classical music to try to help them concentrate..chances are that their going to be more concentrated on trying to find a good song then what their supposed to be doing.. you cant say that you shouldnt listen to heavy metal..if your used to listening to has the same effect as classical music...the same goes for any genre of music.. for me... I can listen to any kind of music and be concentrated in what I'm doing..I have heavy metal playing as I'm writing this and I really have no problem concentrating... like I said before.. it all depends on the person and what kind of music they like..what relaxes them..or helps them concentrate...everyone has different music tastes and likes different genres ..doesnt make one better then the other..
Posted by Vanessa  on  Tue Mar 27, 2007  at  03:13 PM
Hey, Im doin an assignment on the Mozart effect and need some help! If someone could read my assignment it would be very much appreciated! my email is: ****
Posted by bonnie  on  Sun May 13, 2007  at  01:02 AM
Now sure if the Mozart effect is true, however, I do know the following...
-I feel more relaxed (and yes, mentally stimulated) when listening to classical music. Maybe its the "magic feather" effect, but if it helps, it helps.
-There will always be negative "nay sayers" who disagree with everything. For those on this page that say they personally tried to put the theory to the test and saw no benefit, is it possible that they could have also been mentally side tracked because they were more focussed on disproving the theory rather than actually relaxing and just studying?
Posted by Charles  on  Sun Nov 11, 2007  at  10:15 PM
You people are missing the point. You have to start a child on Mozart before development. It's too late to try the theory later in life!
Posted by Valerie Ellner  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  01:47 PM
Mozart Effect was only true in relation to other types of music... but good article anyway
Posted by lyrics  on  Mon Mar 24, 2008  at  09:33 AM
Keynesianism still doesn't make sense to me even in a "stop the bleeding" situation. To understate the point, the stock market has tanked recently. After finding out banks had crap on their balance sheet, owners sold off stock as fast as possible in order salvage whatever funds they could. Stocks are based on the value of a company, they're little slices of ownership in a large corporation. If the corporation is growing, turning a profit, etc. they increase in value because the company has presumably created "something." If an event happens that causes people keep selling them off, then a glut of company stock hits the market, therefore making individual stocks less expensive.
Posted by Pain  on  Thu Mar 12, 2009  at  06:26 AM
wow this thread is really old, but here goes anyway................i don't agree that it is necessary to spend vast sums on mozart stuff for your kids. just press play on your cd player and play it as it was composed. however, i do agree that it aids concentration. i am a software engineering student and i sometimes spend 10 hours or even all night programming and i definitely perform better with mozart playing. i feel the code moving around in my head at probably double the speed of when i program in silence. i recommend the violin concerto #5 but its all good really.
its just my opinion, i reckon there is something in it.
Posted by david  on  Mon Apr 20, 2009  at  06:16 PM
I personally believe that classical music enriches the soul, soothes the body and stimulates the mind. The beautiful sound of Mozart focuses the mind to enter into a deep concentration and thus increasing intelligence.
Posted by Crystal Rivera  on  Thu Jun 25, 2009  at  12:38 AM
If I'm supposed to be concentrating, I can't have music on. It's just too distracting.
Posted by m  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  10:27 AM
I prefer not to listen to anything but myself mumbling the words of the book when I am studying; otherwise, my brain flops up. Having said that, I didn't mean that I can't study when there's music playing in the background...I just can't study "well enough" for the matter. I like peace and quiet.
Posted by Anne Pauline  on  Fri Feb 19, 2010  at  04:03 AM
It might not work, but for sure it sells records.
Posted by chalimac  on  Mon Dec 13, 2010  at  05:29 PM
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