Mozart effect BBC

The Mozart Effect, BBC




cot think so think/thought/thought
fund modest public (3)
fire (4) believe send/sent/sent
magic step (2) a step ahead
flute coin (2) soundtrack
effect stimulate find/found/found
phrase rest (2) make/made/made
decide capture what’s going on
claim arousal simply put
silence take part complexity
brain buffalo recount (2)
hence medley mozzarella cheese
mania complete swear/swore/sworn (2)
herd regular good/better/best
call for original a step ahead
at all surprise somehow
in turn involve experiment
series specific sit/sat/sat
mental improve attractive (2)
task pattern passage (2)
piece fold (2) lead/led/led
impact imagine intelligence (2)
ability cognitive conclusion
result intuitive academics
theory brilliant puzzle (3)
predict cortical major (2)
similar pattern produce (2)
solve confirm popularize
meta keep (3) come/came/come
spacial analysis take place
unique available short-lived
author show (2) back up (2)
morph whatever matter (2)
absorb point (3) for that matter
form pleasure composition
string conduct so much for
last (2) cognitive make a difference
quality hold on drink/drank/drunk
effort combine read/read/read
bit (3) hold/held/held







Should new born babies be listening to Mozart in their cots?

Back in 1998, a US state governor thought so. Governor Zell Miller called for public funds to be made available so that every baby in Georgia could be sent a Mozart CD.

Around the world, many parents were a step ahead. They were playing their babies a soundtrack of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, The Magic Flute and the rest.

What was going on?

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

In three words – ‘the Mozart effect’ – a phrase first coined in 1991, but popularized two years later, when the findings of a now famous academic study captured the public’s imagination worldwide.

Simply put, the claim was that listening to Mozart’s music, absorbing its beauty and complexity, somehow improved your brainpower. And it was never too early to start – hence playing Mozart to babies.

Or indeed, buffalo. Yes, buffaloes.

A tale of Mozart effect mania was recounted to me by the psychologist and author of Mind Myths, Sergio Della Sala. He met a mozzarella cheese producer in Italy who swore that playing Mozart three times a day to his buffalo herd led to better quality milk.

So how had things come to this?

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

A look back at that original paper shows that its authors, from the University of California Irvine, were decidedly modest in their claims – and they didn’t use the phrase ‘Mozart effect’ at all. Another surprise, is that their study wasn’t done on children but on young adult students. And only 36 took part.

The experiment involved the students completing a series of mental tasks. But before they started they either: Sat in silence for ten minutes . . . or listened to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata for two pianos.

And the results?

On the really rather specific skill of predicting how folded up pieces of paper would look when unfolded, the students who listened to the Mozart did do a little better. That’s all. And the effect only lasted for around fifteen minutes.

So how come this study led people to believe that listening to Mozart could have a lasting impact on intelligence and cognitive abilities? In part, because this conclusion is intuitively attractive.

Academics have theorized that the brilliant patterns in Mozart’s music could stimulate similar patterns of cortical firing in the brain, which in turn would help with complex tasks, like solving spatial puzzles. Anyway, the studies kept on coming.

A meta-analysis of sixteen of them, which took place in 2010, confirmed that there was some small positive effect, though again short-lived.

But was it unique to the music of Mozart? In short, no.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Another major meta-analysis, again finding temporary positive effects, found that other music worked just as well. This was backed up by a study of eight thousand children conducted in the UK in 2006.

Listening to ten minutes of Mozart’s String Quintet in D major did improve the children’s ability to predict paper shapes, but so did listening to a medley of PJ and Duncan’s ‘Stepping Stones’, Mark Morrison’s ‘Return of the Mack’ and Blur’s ‘Country House’.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Mozart effect had morphed into the Blur effect or indeed the whatever-music-you-like effect. Or for that matter, as another study showed, whatever-passage-from-a-book-you-like effect.

In this research, listening to a reading from a Stephen King novel worked as well as a listening to a piece of Schubert. By now it was any form of pleasurable cognitive arousal that was making a difference. Music could do it, but so could drinking coffee or dancing. So much then for the Mozart effect.

But hold on, there is one way Mozart could make a difference to you or your child’s brain power.

What you need to do is to learn to play his compositions. For instance, a study, done by Jessica Grahn, a Canadian cognitive scientist, showed that a year of piano lessons, combined with regular practice, could increase IQ by as much as three points.

So, music does increase intelligence, but unfortunately it takes quite a bit more effort than simply listening to Mozart.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



Piano. The video talked about how parents played lullaby music to their babies. True or false? Why did parents and teachers make children listen to Mozart music?

Violin, Viola, Cello. Does the Mozart Effect allegedly affect only people?

Drums. Was the Mozart Effect only a hypothesis, a conjecture, or did it have its basis in a scientific experiment? What happened? Describe the experiment.

Saxophone. The scientists publicized their findings and signed contracts with record companies. Is this right or wrong?

Harp. What may explain the Mozart Effect? How might the Mozart Effect work?

Trumpet, Trombone. Was the University of California experiment the only study on the Mozart Effect or have there been other studies?

Tuba, French Horn. Only Classical Music can stimulate the mind to relax and have excellent performance. Is this correct or incorrect?

Clarinet, Oboe. If a person listens to and plays a musical instrument, will they turn into polymath geniuses?
Accordion. I have heard of the “Mozart Effect”. My parents and teachers made me to listen to classical music. Yes or no?

Flute, Piccolo. My friends and I can play musical instruments. My friends and I have had music lessons. Yes or no? Do you know anyone who has had music lessons?

Xylophone. Are music schools and academies common? Are there many symphony orchestras, brass bands, folk musicians and concerts?

Guitar, Ukulele. Should children be encouraged to take music lessons? Should adults play musical instruments?

Pan Flute. What might happen in the future?

Zither, Hammered Dulcimer, Cimbalom. How can people increase their intelligence? How can people become smarter? How can people become more dexterous?

Comments are closed.