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UFV 2003

The Mozart Effect

1          Mozart makes you smarter! Researchers at the University of California at Irvine discovered that people who listened to ten minutes of Mozart before taking an intelligence test scored higher than people who listened to ten minutes of relaxation instructions or who, for ten minutes, sat in silence. Scientists speculate that some kinds of music stimulate neural pathways in the brain. For a period of up to fifteen minutes after listening, the group that heard Mozart improved significantly in abstract and spatial reasoning. The one downer - that improvement is 1temporary - may be because listening is a passive activity. No one knows if listening longer results in staying smarter longer.

2          Although some studies suggest that children as young as two can benefit intellectually from music, you can be any age to take advantage of the Mozart Effect. You don't have to be a musician. You can profit from it regardless of your level of formal education. It doesn't matter what kind of job you do, nor if you've never listened to a note of Mozart in your life. You don't even have to like music! The Mozart Effect works automatically.

3          As a man, Mozart was playful, mercurial, ebullient: a quick thinker. The rapidity with which he processed information and went from one level of understanding to the next is echoed in the meticulous organization of his 2frequently complicated but 3always clear music. Mozart's music induces widely varied emotional responses in us, but it 4never allows us to wallow: it changes too 5fast.

4          Mozart had a notable career as a child virtuoso. His father, Leopold, had him playing piano at four, composing by five. Mozart's neural pathways, widened at an early age and stimulated constantly (Mozart composed more than six hundred works before he died at thirty-five), facilitated his fluent expression of musical thought. What is it in Mozart that heightens our perceptivity? Perhaps it has something to do with being able to pay attention.

(Source: Adapted from Mozart for Your Mind: Boost Your Brain Power with Wolfgang Amadeus, Philips Classics Productions, CD 11.649.77.412, 1995.)

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