Kickstart your Brain with the ‘The Mozart Effect’

By K Stone

February 13, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Brain Training

The Mozart Effect.” The theory, essentially, is that listening to the music of Mozart can improve your intellectual capacity. The question is, can listening to classical music make you more successful?

If music improves cognitive functions, it is reasonable to believe you can reap those same rewards, leading to increased performance and efficiency at work. Increased efficiency means you get things done quicker. Finishing earlier means you have increased free time to put towards another assignment or to spend relaxing.

  • Music Increases Cognitive Function: Several studies have shown cognitive improvements in those who listened to classical music prior to performing certain tasks or taking tests. Functions that demonstrated in increase in capacity included: Language skills, reading skills, spatial tasks, verbal communications, quantitative abilities, concentration, memory, and motor skills.
  • Several studies of students preparing to take the SAT test compared test scores of those who listened to classical music prior to taking the test with those who did not. Those who preceded the test with classical music scored higher on the SAT than the students who did not.
  • A study by the University of Washington showed that copyeditors who listened to classical music for 90 minutes while editing copy found 21% more mistakes than those who did not. 
  • Improved Interpersonal Relations through Music: Listening to music not only improves functions within your brain, but music has also been shown to have a profound effect on mood. The style of music correlated with the mood experienced by the listener. 

Those who listened to music that was considered positive or upbeat were asked questions about their impressions of other people, and these individuals generally responded in a positive manner. Likewise, those who listened to music that was considered sad or depressing, and then were asked to form impressions of the same people as the first group, generally responded in a negative manner.

This suggests that listening to music can have a profound effect on the way people view life and on their success in maintaining interpersonal relations. If listening to music that is considered positive or upbeat improves overall mood, it stands to reason that life will be viewed in a more favorable manner, and the listener will experience greater success in his relationships.

Success in work and life can rely largely on our approach to each. With an improved outlook and a happier mood, we can achieve much more than if we proceed with negativity.

  • Music and Healing: Researchers have studied the effects of music on patients that have had strokes, have epilepsy, or suffer from developmental disabilities. Those who had strokes were able to regain speech and language abilities much faster and more completely when music was incorporated into their recovery. Epileptics – even those in a coma – who were exposed to music showed a reduced incidence of seizures. Autistic children who had difficulty expressing themselves began showing great improvements once music was incorporated into their therapy. 

Evidence continues to surface reinforcing music’s positive impact on not only the human brain, but on overall health and well being. In addition to stimulating the mind, classical music can calm and soothe, thereby reducing stress. Stress is one of the biggest causes of illness, so it stands to reason that by reducing the amount of stress your body experiences, the healthier it will be. And the healthier you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.

  • Companies Coordinate Song & Learning: As the benefits of incorporating music into our lives become more and more apparent, many universities, companies, and large corporations have begun including music in their training programs. 

The Shell Corporation, DuPont, and IBM, among others, have begun using classical music to compliment corporate training programs. The results have shown participants learn new material in about half the time and demonstrate increased retention.

  • Improve Your Performance With Music: Music stimulates parts of the mind in ways never thought possible, having far reaching effects on brain function. Whether a temporary improvement caused by an increase in arousal or improvement in mood, or an actual raising of mental ability caused by neuron stimulation deep within the brain, you can incorporate music into your life to help you reach your goals faster and more easily. 

Making this one simple change is easy to do, yet can potentially have widespread benefits. Any increase in cognitive ability will help you complete your work more quickly and accurately, providing a positive impact on your career. Increased efficiency will provide you with more free time, which in turn can help you better achieve work life balance. Not to mention the positive change in mood, which gives you a happier outlook on life as a whole. So turn up the Mozart, and see where the music takes you.

K Stone

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