Posts Tagged ‘mozart’

Brain Training & The Mozart Effect

Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Wolfgang Mozart


A new look at the data on classical music and intellectual performance seems to show that the so-called “Mozart effect” might as well be dubbed the “Motorhead effect.” It intrigued me to see that the review supported the idea that music can stimulate intellectual performance temporarily; according to the Vienna team’s lead researcher Jakob Pietschnig: ‘Those who listened to music, Mozart or something else – Bach, Pearl Jam – had better results than the silent group. But we already knew people perform better if they have a stimulus.’

Hmmm. So those brain training sessions where I took a break to play the piano and came back to score better might not have been coincidences…

The team, from Vienna University, brought together data from about forty studies that have sought to reproduce the ‘Mozart effect.’ As first reported by a team from the University of California in 1993, the original research, first published in Nature, spawned the Baby Mozart’ CD phenomenon. Dr. Pietschnig noted that the original study was carried out on adults and assessed temporary spatial reasoning rather than intelligence.

Pietschning: ‘I recommend everyone listen to Mozart, but it’s not going to improve cognitive abilities as some people hope.’

Ah, but why not?  Since activities that promote attentive changes in the brain do lead to plastic change why is it not possible for music to lead to permanent changes over time?Recent parallel studies indicate that musical training leads to improvements in intellectual ability. I’d say it’s quite likely that listening to music frequently could have a positive intellectual impact. (It’s also a highly enjoyable activity.)