Myth: Listening to classical music makes you smarter.
I am certain that most of you have heard that listening to classical music will improve your intelligence. Well, this is a myth. Listening to classical music has not been shown to make you smarter.
But where did this myth come from?
In 1993 Rauscher claimed that listening to Mozart’s sonata for 10 minutes increased your reasoning skills and lowered your blood pressure. So in 1995 there was a study to provide evidence to support/prove his claim wrong. A group of college students were then divided into two groups. One of the groups listened to classical music and the other didn’t. After listening to the music for ten minutes both groups did an IQ test. The classical music group did actually score higher but this so called ‘Mozart effect’ wore off after only 15 minutes.
Why is this an issue that is worth discussing?
The fact that many people do not know that this is a myth causes problems. One of these is that there are companies who take advantage of this and produce products based on the myth. People then spend money on products that won’t even influence their intelligence. This shows that it is economically important to spread the word that classical music influencing your intelligence is truly a myth and that you should not buy any of those products.
Are there any better theories related to the brain and music?
There have been studies to show that learning to play an instrument does improve your cognitive skills. Neuroscientists have used instruments like fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) and PET scanners to record brain activity. They have been recorded what the happens to the brain during different tasks. Whilst playing an instrument multiple parts of the musicians brain started working together at the same time. This happened because the brain had to process a lot of different information simultaneously. Whilst playing music the brain has to use the visual, auditory and motor cortices all at the same time, each of them with high efficiency. For even more information on this research watch this video.
So maybe from now on, instead of listening/making others listen to classical music you can spend your free time learning how to play an instrument and actually do something productively.
Cognitive skills– your ability to process information, reason, remember, and relate
Mozart effect– temporary abilities are enhanced after listening to music composed by Mozart
Collins, Anita, and Sharon Colman Graham. “How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain.” TED-Ed. Ed. Alex Gendler. TED, 22 July 2014. Web. 08 May 2015.
Coolx012. “The Mozart Effect.” – Section 16 and 17 F11 PSY 1001. N.p., 6 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 May 2015.
“Listening to Classical Music Makes You Smarter.” BrainFacts.org. NeuroMyths, n.d. Web. 4 May 2015.