Music has lots of strange properties, and can even be beneficial to your health as I discussed in a previous blog post, but can classical music make infants smarter? The rumored “Mozart’s Effect” claims that playing classical music when you’re pregnant will make your baby smarter, but there’s no actual evidence that this does anything. (In addition, they use this effect to describe the short-term improvement derived from listening to classical music, regardless of age) Is this all myth, or is there some fact to this saying?
“I also brought Mozart to play while he sleeps to make him smarter because leading experts say Mozart makes babies smarter.”
Many studies have been conducted and shown that listening to classical music can help improve test results, for an example this is seen in one study where students who listened to Mozart before a test scored an average of 8 to 9 points higher to than those who didn’t. (It is important to note that the effect wore off after 15 minutes.) But those are college students, so what kind of effect does music have on babies, or even infants who haven’t been born yet?
One study was conducted where 12 mothers played a particular song for three months, and then when the children were one year old they placed them in a room and played three songs: one of which was the song their mother selected. The children seemed to have a clear preference for the song that was played to them while in the womb. This makes some logical sense, considering that babies can recognize their parent’s voices when they’re born. It’s not too much of a stretch to assume they could recognize other sounds if they heard them enough. Although, you could argue that this is all due to chance, especially with such a tiny sample size. Still, it’s not too far out there to suggest that these babies are, at some level, processing sounds. But do these sounds have any real effect?
An analysis of sixteen different studies found that while there was a brief improvement, it was only temporary and doesn’t actually increase your intelligence. This sentiment is resounded by other articles, and the general consensus is that classical music gives you a temporary boost in performance, but doesn’t increase your intelligence – and the same goes for your babies. You can play classical music for your babies, but there’s currently no evidence to prove that will have any significant effect on your child’s intelligence.