- NEW YORK - The 'Mozart
effect' - a reported temporary increase in intelligence after listening
to a Mozart piano sonata " does not hold up in repeat studies, according
to a report published in the journal Psychological Science.
- There is "little evidence to support basing intellectual
intervention programs on the existence of the Mozart effect," according
to researchers led by Dr. Kenneth Steele, an assistant professor in the
department of psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
- First reported in 1993 by researchers at the University
of California, Irvine, and again by the same team two years later, the
Mozart effect resulted from two studies that showed an 8- to 9-point improvement
on IQ tests in 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart's
Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K. 448). The downside of the reported
effect: the IQ boost was temporary, lasting less than 15 minutes. The California
team explained their findings by saying the temporary increase in intelligence
scores was a unique neurophysiological priming effect that was due to some
unique aspect of Mozart's classical music.
- But in their report, the North Carolina team notes that
other scientists around the world have tried and failed to replicate the
studies that suggested the Mozart effect.
- The Appalachian State University researchers conducted
their own study, which replicated the original study's exact directions,
and increased the sample size to 125 people. However, they also did not
find a temporary boost in intelligence among study participants after listening
- Searching for an alternative way of explaining the Mozart
effect, Steele suggests that better performance on these tasks may be due
to a better mood.
- "Positive mood could be an alternative explanation
of a Mozart-like effect," Steele said in an interview with Reuters
- Steele said that by copying the procedures of the initial
studies, and showing no effect in relation to the music, their team has
"debunked the myth that listening to classical music can make you