We have all likely used music to help us relax, to distract us, or even to help pump us up at the gym. But how far does our mind’s connection to music go? Can it make us smarter or even heal faster after surgery?

The Mozart Effect

Popular lore tells us to listen to Mozart to help focus while studying. According to the so-called Mozart Effect, listening to Requiem or Eine kleine Nachtmusik will improve your memory and increase your IQ. But is this advice backed by research?

In 1993, a study published in Nature by Rauscher, Shaw and Ky noted that those who listened to Mozart showed a larger improvement in their spatial reasoning skills compared to those who listened to relaxation instructions or silence. Although the improvement was only observed for fifteen minutes after hearing the music and it was only noted for tests of spatial reasoning, popular culture quickly exaggerated the results, touting a link between Mozart and an overall increase in IQ.

 

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