In 1993, a small study showed that college students who listened to a Mozart sonata and then took an IQ test got higher spatial scores than those who didn’t. But this so-called “Mozart effect” wore off in less than 15 minutes and researchers disagree on the mechanisms behind it. Listening to classical music has not been shown to improve intelligence in children or adults. In fact, researchers have found that young children who watch classical music-based television learn fewer words, just as children who watch regular television do. However, learning how to play a musical instrument has been shown to enhance cognitive skills in the long term.
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White-Schwoch T, Carr KW, Anderson S, Strait DL, Kraus N. Older adults benefit from music training early in life: biological evidence for long-term training-driven plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience. 6 November, 33(45):17667-74 (2013).
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