Can tuning into a sonata or two make you smarter? Is the Mozart Effect real – or just a lot of classical hotair? If I listen to classical music while I design will my body of work improve (whatever that means)?
The “Mozart Effect” emerged into the consciousness of popular culture when a small team of Californian researchers announced that listening to Mozart music can make you smarter. In fact, that research claimed in just 10 minutes of his greatest hits can boost your scores in a popular intelligence test by eight or nine points.
The Mozart Effect in action is that classical music somehow relaxes our brains, reorganises and clarifies our thought processes and thereby promotes a firmer and more robust intellect. It is a supposition that has acquired the veneer of accepted wisdom over the past two decades.
After all, we have known for the last thousand years that music can heighten our emotions and creates a sense of well being. And in turn, music therapy has evolved into a recognised medical and psychological healing tool that can be used to treat autism, cerebral palsy and a host of other physical disabilities.
Indeed the music of Mozart may lift the soul. However, the beautifully crafted sonatas do not make the listeners any smarter. Subsequent research challenges the original research. These researchers found that IQ improvements if any from listening to Mozart were not statistically significant. Analysis of the 16 original studies found no significant improvement in either broader abstract reasoning or spatial thinking.
Of all the research it seems that listening to Mozart is not going to improve my intelligence. However, one thing I am sure of it cannot hurt. From a personal point of view, music has enhanced the quality of my life in a variety of ways, wellness, education, creativity and emotional expression.
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment
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