Classical music doesn't improve brain function, study claims

19 August 2013, 10:40

The Mozart Effect could be completely non-existent, according to a new neuro-scientific study in America.

In a new study by Nicholas Spitzer at the University of California, it has been suggested that listening to classical music has no effect on the brain's capacity to learn and be active.

This goes against the popular idea of 'The Mozart Effect', which suggests that listening to classical music (and Mozart in particular) can increase brain activity of developing babies and adults alike.

Spitzer told The Economist: "Let me dispel a brain development myth. Many people think classical music is going to enhance brain function (the Mozart effect) or playing particular games sharpens ones cognitive function. These theories have been looked at in detail and they don’t stand up."

He added: "It is disappointing in a way, but what we have learned is that exercise is the key thing for brain function."

However, Spitzer did agree that learning to play a musical instrument can improve cognitive functions in the brain: "That has clear cognitive functions that do crossover. Especially learning to play and read the music at the same time."

Spitzer is a part of the BRAIN Initiative, a White House-backed research project that aims to advance brain-mapping technology.