Essay on PYB100 Does Mozart make babies smarter

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Thompson and Andrews (2000), from the sound listening and learning centre state that music is commonly used for emotional stimulation and healing. The Mozart Effect refers to improved mental development in result of listening to Mozart’s music. Commercially, the Mozart Effect is linked with the idea that Mozart’s music improves a persons IQ or makes babies smarter. The global market jumped on the new phenomenon and entrepreneurs, such as Don Campbell (1997), have produced products including CDs, videotapes and books aimed at families with infants and children.

Lack of evidence and unsupported links between Mozart and improved intelligence poses the question; does listening to Mozart really make babies smarter?

This critical literature review will comprehensively analyse the Mozart Effect and prove that the extreme lack of evidence and only momentary findings on the Mozart Effect makes it impractical to conclude that listening to Mozart has any ability to make babies smarter. The information examined will be current and relevant and sourced from scholarly or academic sources such as books, journal articles, reports and web resources. The short-term effects, insufficient methodologies and various other causes behind the Mozart Effect will be studied throughout the report to prove that listening to Mozart does not make babies smarter.

Short Term Effect

The short-term effects that have been found are so brief that any hope that babies will become smarter from listening to Mozart is misguided.

The Mozart effect was first heard of in an article in Nature. Rauscher and Shaw (1993), wrote about an experiment investigating thirty-six college student’s results of a spatial reasoning test after listening to three different stimuli each for ten minutes. The students listened to a Mozart Piano Sonata, sat in silence, and a monotone speaking voice. Rauscher and Shaw (1993), reported that the students who listened to the Mozart sonata scored significantly higher on the spatial temporal task. However Rauscher and Shaw (1993), emphasized that there was no evidence of improved intelligence after ten to fifteen minutes.

Jones and Zigler (2002), wrote of the little evidence regarding the longevity of the effects caused by listening to Mozart after reviewing various research studies and experiments. Jones and Zigler (2002), wrote about Rauscher’s (1993) study with preschool children. Children aged three to five who had private piano lessons for ten minutes a day for six months were tested in an intelligence test against children with no lessons, computer lessons or singing lessons. The results showed no difference in spatial recognition between the two groups of children. The results did however show an improvement in spatial-temporal abilities. This involves identifying patterns, which can improve mathematic and science skills. Rauscher (1993), wrote that learning music was unlike listening to music and produces long-term results. Jones and Zigler (2002), wrote that the results are speculative due to the limited definition of long-term, with Rauscher (1993) using the time lengths of ten minutes and one or two days throughout the report.

Due to limited evidence and no proof of long-term improved intelligence it can be concluded that listening to Mozart will result in no long-term gains for babies cognitive areas.


Conflicting methodologies and lack of testing procedures make it unjustified to conclude that listening to Mozart makes babies smarter.

Latendresse, Larivee and Miranda (2006), wrote an article testing research studies that have proposed connections between listening to music and improved intelligence. The writers question the methodologies used in Rauscher’s (1993) experiments. Testifying that the studies only tested one form of intelligence and therefore, the effect of listening to Mozart is not an improvement of general intelligence measured by IQ.