School-Safe Puzzle Games

How Mozart K448 can increase your IQ – Listen & Try

Does listening to Mozart make you smarter? According to a landmark neuroscience research study out of the University of California, Mozart’s sonata for two pianos K448 (which you can listen to below) can increase your spatial-temporal IQ scores by 9 points. While the duration of the effect on your brain is only about 10-15 minutes, the findings are nonetheless fascinating.

  • Spatial-temporal intelligence allows you to perform 3-D type manipulations on a mental image. It’s thought to be important for problems that arise in areas such as “mathematics, engineering, architecture, science, art, games (e.g. chess) and everyday life”. (ref: wikipedia)

This original study, published by Rauscher in the journal Nature, has given birth to what is now known as ‘The Mozart Effect‘. While many people have used the research to peddle exaggerated claims and products (like Mozart music tapes for parents to play in their child’s nursery), I think there is clearly something noteworthy going on with this type of music and the brain.

For example, further research shows that K448:

  • Significantly increases the speed & ability of rats navigating through mazes
  • Strikingly diminishes the number of seizures in patients with epilepsy

What is so special about K448? How might it power up your brain? According to one Mozart authority, K448 is “one of the most profound and most mature of all Mozart’s compositions”.

A more scientific explanation, however, may have been uncovered by the work of Neurology Professor John Hughes. As he comments in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine:

…we have found a long-lasting periodicity in the power of Mozart’s music, seen also with JS Bach and his son JC Bach. Furthermore we have just analyzed the melodic line and find that Mozart repeats his melodic line far more frequently than other well-known composers, but often in an ingenious manner reversing the notes. We feel that periodicity is the key or secret here and characterizes many brain and bodily functions.

In other words, Mozart’s K448 is characterized by a high degree of long-term periodicity. The music cycles, with elements recurring at regular intervals.

While I do think that certain types of music can have interesting and significant effects on brain function, I do not believe merely listening to Mozart can drive long term gains in brain power. (And if you look at the findings of the original ‘Mozart Effect’ research paper, the authors never claimed such).

If you are looking to utilize music as a way to boost brain function long-term, the path you’ll need to pursue is learning how to play an instrument. Here the research shows convincing and significant benefits, and I refer you to this great webpage that summarizes them. [As to the possible mechanism by which music instruction improves brain power, you may enjoy reading one of the first posts I made on the Smartkit website here].

If you’d like to read more about Mozart K448 and its varied effects on the brain, I recommend this excellent summary article by Dr. J S Jenkins, which can be found here.

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