As a parent, you must have heard of the term Mozart effect which is based on the theory that listening to classical music makes your kid smarter. But does this idea really hold up to scientific scrutiny? To our surprise, you will see several pregnant mothers pressing headphones against their bellies hoping to make their kids more intelligent. Unlike some parents who blindly accept the concept, researchers reacted to the Mozart Effect by conducting more experiments to test whether or not listening to classical music plays a role in intelligence.
The Researches on the Mozart Effect
A specific study was carried out in the University of California where researchers tested spatial-temporal reasoning on 36 students. They were given a series of mental tasks to complete after listening to either ten minutes of silence, ten minutes of relaxation instructions, or ten minutes of Mozart. According to the results, students listening to Mozart music performed better at the test although the “Mozart Effect” lasted for 15 minutes. Therefore, the researchers concluded that listening to classical music does lead to a temporary improvement in brain activity and ability, but since the effect isn’t permanent then it doesn’t affect intelligence.
Lois Hetland of Harvard University did another study where she replicated previous Mozart effect studies. According to her, science is an error detection system with organized skepticism. The results from her research indicated that the experimental group, the group of students who listened to classical music, indeed performed better than the control group. Multiple studies done on the theory of “Mozart Effect” have found similar “mixed” results.
The “mixed” results are due to the influence of third variables. For example, even though the participants were randomly selected, an individual participant could have had different learning interests and weaknesses, hence affecting the results. Other third variables include gender, musical taste, innate spatial ability, and personal ability. Several studies have come to a similar conclusion after their researches.
Ultimately, it’s clear that there is nothing wrong with people listening to classical music, the problem is that there is not enough data to prove that it actually makes them smarter. Plus, there are too many third variables in between.
Mozart effect is always associated with babies and small children, but most studies done were conducted on adults whose brain are of course mature. In addition to that, there is no long-term evidence that classical music helps develop the brain.
Other Benefits of Music to the Brain
Everyone’s brain responses to music differently. Basically, research states that music activates every known part of the brain. It brings feelings of happiness, creativity, and productivity. Here is how the brain has led to enhancing the functioning of your brain.
- Reduces stress and improves mood: All music lovers know that listening to upbeat can help improve their mood. It reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol which makes you feel powerful and in control of your life. Listening to sad songs also help you get in touch with your emotions to help you heal.
- Acts as a natural panacea: Music can heal whatever is ailing you, including mental health disorder or neurological disease. It can alleviate symptoms of mental disorder that include anxiety, depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and attention deft hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
It’s a promising treatment for stroke, autism, Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Moreover, listening to music can benefit patients both before and after surgery.
- Builds one’s confidence: When children start to listen to music at a young age, they develop that self-confidence and if want to become musicians they may even start singing in their local churches and school. While they advance to play for a bigger audience, they become more comfortable which helps in their adult music life.
So, listening to classical music won’t do you or your child any harm and could be refreshing most of the time. Music has some proven benefits to the brain apart from making one smarter. Moreover, there is proof of temporary brain improvement as a result of listening to music but this might only apply to a few people or children. Plus, you don’t need a grand piano for you or your kid to tap into the benefits of music. It can be as simple as playing classical songs then allowing your brain to interact with it, which takes you to a good place and relaxation mood. Apart from listening to music, research shows that studying it can boost one’s IQ even more. And as a parent, doing things that engage your kid into feeling happy makes us happy too.
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