‘Mozart effect’ a myth, say scientists

Listening to works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart does not make people more intelligent, groundbreaking research by a group of Austrian scientists has found.Researchers at Vienna University said they looked into 39 international studies conducted on the issue in which more than 3,000 people took part.Study leader Jakob Pietschnig said yesterday (Tues): “I recommend listening to Mozart to everyone – but not to increase one’s intelligence or performance of any kind. His music does not have such an effect.”The research follows US psychologist Scott Lilienfeld branding the “Mozart effect” sixth in his list of “50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology”.The myth first surfaced in 1993 when American psychologist Frances H. Rauscher claimed that listening to the composer’s music would help people perform better in intelligence tests.His comments led to several US states giving away free CDs with the Salzburg-born composer’s symphonies to women who had just given birth.Mozart is an essential aspect of the Austrian tourism industry. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Salzburg and Vienna every year to follow in the composer’s steps.