It has long been believed that music can evoke specific thoughts and feelings from the listener. But can music –specifically the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- summon hidden intelligences within the human brain? That is the question scientists are trying to answer. In the mid-nineties, scientists, Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw and Katherine Ky, claimed that music could boost the listener’s intelligence up to 9 points (Steele 2). To many, this allegation seemed a bit far-fetched and soon other researchers began recreating the Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky experiment in hopes of discrediting their findings. The conclusions that resulted confirmed that the skeptics were right: the evidence was inconclusive and revealed that music did not make the listener “smarter”. These findings, however, did not stop weary parents from stocking up on Baby Mozart CD’s in hopes that their little one will one day grow up to be the next Einstein.The original experiment of Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky was published in the 1993 issue of Nature. Thirty-six college students were to listen to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata in D major for Two Pianos, K488. After listening to the music, they were given a paper cutting and folding test. They were to look at a piece of paper that was folded several times and had pieces cut out of it. Then, they would mentally unfold the paper and identify the correct shape (Linton 1). The students who listened to Mozart showed an increase of 8-9 IQ points compared to students who did the test without listening to music. However, it was also stated that the “effect was temporary and did not last more than fifteen minutes” (Gorman 1 ).Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand wanted to replicate the Rauscher, Sha…
…ozart’s music is about “becoming a human being and living” (Linton 4). Whatever the reason, Mozart will always be the one credited with the ability to transform the minds of the listener; whether it is their intelligence or their mood. In some ways, the Mozart effect is real in the sense that the listener is moved and changed after listening to the enchanting compositions of one of the most talented composers of his time.
Gorman, Andrew. “The “Mozart Effect”: Hard Science or Hype”. (1993): 1-6. EBSCO. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.Linton, Michael. “The Mozart Effect”. First Things 91. (1999): 10-13. EBSCO. Web. 21 Sept. 2011Steele, Kenneth. “The “Mozart Effect”: An Example of the Scientific Method in Operation”. Psychology Teacher Network Nov.-Dec. 2001: 2-5. Print.Wade, Michael. “The Effects of the Mozart Effect” Cross Section 4.0 (2010): 52-56. Print.