The “Mozart Effect” was first coined by Dr. Alfred Tomatis in his 1991 book “Pourquoi Mozart” (Why Mozart?). He used Mozart’s music to “retrain the ear” and argued that Mozart’s music had valuable therapeutic benefits. This aroused interest in the research community. A 1993 study by Rauscher et al. suggested that listening to Mozart led to an increase in test takers’ “spatio temporal” reasoning shortly after the listening session. In other words, listening to Mozart was believed to temporarily increased certain aspects of peoples’ cognitive abilities. The results of this study were misinterpreted by the press which would eventually end up publishing that the Mozard Effect led to a direct boost in IQ, even though the 1993 study had been clear about the temporary cognitive benefits of the music. This study would set the world on fire and would lead to a further 300+ research papers being published on the Mozart Effect IQ gains.
The topic became so well-publicized that the governor of the US State of Georgia attempted to set aside a budget of USD150,000 to ensure that every parent in the State was able to receive a Mozart CD for their children. The hopes placed on the Mozart Effect IQ gains were clearly very high even in political circles.
Mozart Effect IQ gains – what is the verdict?
So what is the verdict on the Mozart Effect IQ gains? The literature is actually divided, but will an overall indicator of a null effect on permanent IQ gains. There are some studies which have concluded that gains might be seen on Spatial aspects of an IQ test, although further studies postulated that any such gains were probably associated with mood-boosting effects for those people who liked Mozart’s music.
The Mozart Effect IQ gains have thus been widely investigated and Mozart has not proven to be the silver bullet in the realms of cognitive improvement.
So although Mozart himself was said to have an IQ in the 140s (Genius Level), listening to his music is unlikely to confer any significant IQ gains to his fans. The benefits are likely to be confined to listening enjoyment.
That said, I believe that IQ test preparation should incorporate Mozart’s music. Learning a new skills such as juggling increases the brain’s grey matter. Performing this reasonably complex skill while also being able to focus on a complex musical piece by Mozart will make you feel more alert on the day of the test, and this will ensure that your IQ test score is within the highest range that you may be able to achieve.
Listen to Mozart’s Sonatas 448 or 488 and take our IQ tests HERE.