The Gilmore

Do you believe in the “Mozart Effect”?


Over 20 years after Frances Rauscher and Katherine Ky discovered the potential of the Mozart Effect – a temporary cognitive boost after listening to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos K. 448 – another small study in Italy proves that the effect isn’t limited to college students. It works on the elderly, too.

The original study proved that college-aged students were able to quickly perform spatial reasoning tasks more coherently after listening to Mozart’s Piano Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos than those exposed to silence. That same study also looked into young children exposed to music lessons over a longer period: Children with just four months of music lessons scored better in basic spatial reasoning tests than children with eight months of no additional lessons.

This is hardly a surprise; it’s widely proven that children who take music lessons become better with math, reading, and spatial-temporal reasoning. But how can one sonata be enough to boost even a temporary cognitive change? Over the years, researchers have tried their best to dispute the effect, and they’ve come up with a few reasons that previous studies could be stilted.

Before you try using the Sonata before an exam or a tough day at work, consider these stipulations.

Time to try the study! Have a listen to the song (below). Then, try completing a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle. Record your results. Tomorrow, after 10 minutes of silence, try another 100-piece puzzle. What were your results?