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Mozart Blues: Classical Music Does Not Aid Performance

Mozart Blues: Classical Music Does Not Aid Performance A debate over the performance-enhancing effects of classical music has raged for over 15 years.

Now, scientists suggest the “Mozart effect” is a myth: Researchers have discovered no evidence for specific cognitive enhancements merely by listening to Mozart’s music.

The debate begin in 1993 as the journal Nature reported findings of enhanced spatial task performance among college students after exposure to Mozart’s music.

Mozart’s 1781 sonata for two pianos in D major (KV 448) supposedly enhanced students’ cognitive abilities through mere listening.

In the scientific community, however, the finding was met with skepticism, as researchers around the world found it surprisingly hard to replicate.

University of Vienna psychologists Jakob Pietschnig, Martin Voracek, and Anton K. Formann now report the findings of their meta-analysis of the “Mozart effect” in the U.S. journal Intelligence.

Their comprehensive study of studies synthesizes the entirety of the scientific record on the topic.

Retrieved for this systematic investigation were about 40 independent studies, published ones as well as a number of unpublished academic theses from the U.S. and elsewhere, totaling more than 3000 participants.

The University of Vienna researchers’ key finding is clear-cut: based on the accumulated evidence, there remains no support for gains in spatial ability specifically due to listening to Mozart music.

“I recommend listening to Mozart to everyone, but it will not meet expectations of boosting cognitive abilities,” says Jakob Pietschnig, lead author of the study.

The meta-analysis from the University of Vienna exposes the “Mozart effect” as a legend, thus concurring with Emory University psychologist Scott E. Lilienfeld, who in his recent book “50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology” already ranked the “Mozart effect” number six.

Source: University of Vienna

Mozart Blues: Classical Music Does Not Aid Performance

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Mozart Blues: Classical Music Does Not Aid Performance. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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