Briefly, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born in 1756 was a child prodigy. He composed more than six hundred major compositions, including operas, symphonies, piano concertos, piano sonatas, and music of other instruments. Mozart's music was remarkable for clarity and efficiency. The rhythms melodies and high frequencies stimulates and charges the creative and motivation regions of the brain. Tomatis found that Mozart, over other musical compositions, calms the listener, improves spatial perception, and allows the listeners to express themselves more clearly.
In 1993, Frances Rausher, Gordon Shaw and Katherine Ky published a brief paper stating whether exposure to certain music could increase a cognitive ability. All thirty-six college students spent ten minutes in each of the three conditions: listening to (1) piano sonata by Mozart (sonata for two pianos in D, K448), (2) a tape of relaxation instructions or (3) silence to see if these conditions improved spatial performance. . Immediately after, they were tested on spatial/temporal reasoning. The measurements of spatial/temporal reasoning were obtained using subtests from a standard intelligence battery of tests, the Stanford-Binet Test. The subtest was a paper folding and cutting task. The subject has to imagine that a single sheet of paper has been folded several times and when various cutouts are made with scissors. The task is to correctly predict the pattern of cutouts when the paper is unfolded. The researchers found significantly higher scores for the Mozart group than for the relaxation or the silence groups. This study established the term "The Mozart Effect". To further support the idea of using music as a form to promote intelligence, Professors Xiaodan Leng and Gordon Shaw at the University of California at Irvine suggest that "the brain starts out with a certain connective pattern or circuitry in its cells, called neurons, which is highly structured in time and space. Music may "excite" and strengthen these neural patterns in some way and prepare the brain for executing higher brain functions.
Another study explored spatial intelligence with the use of various musical scores while viewing sixteen abstract figures on an overhead screen for one minute each. The exercise tested whether seventy-nine students, could tell how the items would look when they were unfolded. Music selected for this study came from Mozart, Phillip Glass, a dance piece, mixed sounds, an audiotape story and finally silence. The findings were remarkable. The researchers found that listening to Mozart achieved the highest scores. This suggests that listening to Mozart helps organize the firing patterns of neurons in the cerebral cortex, especially strengthening creative right brain processes associated with spatial-temporal reasoning. In other words listening to Mozart can improve your concentration and thus enhance your talent to produce intuitive leaps. The difference translated into spatial IQ scores for the Mozart group there eight to nine points higher than that of the other two groups. However, the positive effect was only brief. The increase of IQ did not last beyond ten to fifteen minutes. To achieve similar successful results when testing the Mozart Effect, even the primary researchers, Rauscher and Shaw (1998) admitted that certain factors must be the same as their original study.
Other researchers have tried to change the variable in order to test the boundaries of the Mozart Effect with few successful results. Of several studies on the Mozart effect, Dr. Kenneth Steele wrote is findings. In an attempt to replicate the Mozart Effect, researchers at Appalachian State University went to great lengths to adhere to the exact procedures of earlier studies. Dr. K. Steele and his associates were unable to prove that listening to Mozart had any effect on spatial reasoning. The group stated, "There is little evidence to support basing intellectual intervention on the existence of the Mozart Effect" .