More threads by mochilero


I just read about a study on music and the brain, done at UC Irvine's Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. It involved 36 students who were given three spatial reasoning tests on a standard IQ test. Just before the first test, they listened to Mozart's sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 for ten minutes. Before the second test, they listened to a relaxation tape. Before the third, they sat in silence.

The average scores for all 36 students: 1st test: 119. 2nd test: 111. 3rd test: 110.

That's an average increase of 9 IQ points from listening to Mozart. Anyone heard of other research done in this area? I'm wondering if anyone has identified other music that helps.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
That's an average increase of 9 IQ points from listening to Mozart.
Unless the order of testing and pre-test activity was counterbalanced across subjects, it doesn't show that at all.

It MAY show that repeated testing on a "spatial reasoning test" causes scores to decrease, although that would be a little odd if it's the same test.

If they were different "spatial reasoning tests", then again they should have been counterbalanced so that the effect of test difficulty or some other anomaly of the test could be evened out. Otherwise, it may show nothing more than the fact that the tests were of varying difficulty.

I'd also note that estimating IQ from a single test is problematicaland inaccurate.

Finally, why would anyone expect listening to music would affect spatial reasoning? And if by chance you could conclusively demonstrate and replicate that this were true, what on earth would it mean?

There are some studies suggesting links between musical aptitude and possibly early exposure to music being related to either mathematical ability (for which there is some neuropsychological support) or general global intelligence (evidence equivocal, I think).


Well, I read about the study, I didn't read the details of the study itself, so I don't know what controls and procedures they used.

Spatial reasoning and music are both processed in the right hemisphere of the brain, aren't they? Interesting anyhow.
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