Thursday, May 03, 2007

The controversial "Mozart Effect"

The "Mozart Effect" is a term used to describe the positive effect that music - in particular some of Mozart's compositions - may have on learning.

There's a lot of debate and controversy surrounding this topic, and having looked at both sides of the argument I think that people are arguing simply because certain researchers are trying to make hyped-up claims and producing flawed experiments. For instance, one study found that rats learned to complete a maze more rapidly if they had been exposed to Mozart music in the womb and as babies (1). The researches then drew the radical conclusion from this experiment that the music had a direct effect on the structure of the brain. They then strongly advocated using music in schools to improve math grades.

Other writers seek to disprove the effect, and they too come up with compelling negatory evidence. (2)

I prefer to take a much more pragmatic approach! Certainly music can be beneficial in lots of ways. Whether or not it can actually "re-wire" our kids' brains to perform mathematical calculations more easily, there are certainly fun and useful ways we can use music in our lives and the lives of our children to enhance their mood, and we'll be investigating some simple steps you can take in the KidsGoals newsletter very soon!



(1) Rauscher, Robinson and Jens (1998)
(2) For example K. M. Steele (2003)

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