Mozart is a bad mother!

Mozart with Headphones

Classical music makes you smarter – of course you’ve heard it and chances are, you’ve tried it. Work sucks if you’re not a Drooble employee and that’s completely fine. Studying for exams or preparing for similar types of life-threatening situations doesn’t make you smart, it makes you scared. We understand.

The classical approach of a modern-day procrastinator, of course, is to turn your Mozart on and wait for the world to tremble before your ever-increasing superhuman brain power. The classical result, however, can be surprisingly diverse. Why? Let’s tackle the problem! First of all,

Why classical music?

Well, supposedly, complex melodic structures trigger patterns of brain activity used for processing spatial information. A reasonable question would be how being better at spatial tasks helps learning that lesson or finishing that report without forcing your brain to explode in a beautiful supernova of squishy grey matter. The answer is simple: this temporary boost enhances particular connections in your brain, making it more effective at processing all sorts of data, including whatever’s been torturing your soul for the past few hours. Second of all,

Why Mozart?

Simply because his music was used to perform the original experiments which led to the term “Mozart effect” which you’ve probably heard before. It basically means that classical music or Mozart in particular makes you smarter. In the past decades hundreds of scientists and focus groups have been involved in all sorts of experiments which have tried to prove the amazing effects of classical music on the human brain and the variety of results and opinions probably exceeds the number of words you have to write in that terrifying thing you have to write.

Of course, there are people who give special credit to Mozart and show tons of proof saying his music is unique in its ability to increase brain performance. If this is true, it might be due to the fact that Mozart’s music is weirdly balancing between different emotions in terms of tempo, harmonics and patterns. It’s constantly moving between activation and deactivation, between tension and serenity. If you put Mozart on a scale with other famous composers you’ll see some are too calm and some are too intense but he seems to be exactly in the middle. Maybe musical edging is an actual thing and just like in real life, unpredictability keeps our brains fresh and our eyes peeled. You really don’t want to know how, but it’s been scientifically proven that a baby monkey is more attached to a mother who chaotically gives it attention or ignores it, randomly deciding between hugging or punishing it, than it is to a mother who consistently and logically shows it just one type of attitude. You get the analogy. Mozart is a bad mother.

But wouldn’t this mean that everything with a similar effect on our minds would produce a similar result? This leads us to our next question and it’s a pretty important one:

Does it really work?

Yes. But for all the wrong reasons. Turns out it’s not Mozart and it’s not classical music. This being the Drooble blog and all, I’m tempted to say it’s any type of music that has the potential to make the world smarter. However, what really gives you that desired brain boost can only be… anything?

Yep. Anything that makes you excited. Even if you’re a rat. That’s right, scientists played Mozart to rodents and they too performed better at spatial tasks. But then someone reported experiencing the same results with Schubert. And later, with rock music. Then, instead of going for music, a bunch of people tried listening to stories before completing a task and again found an odd but satisfying increase in their abilities. All of this didn’t seem so obvious at first because the performance of people exposed to Mozart’s music was being compared to those of people who listened to… nothing. My guess is that being locked in a room in a psychiatric institution, listening to complete silence for 15 minutes or more and then being given a task to complete wouldn’t result in you passing with flying colors.

Anyway, these amazing findings can probably be explained with stress relief and the contrast between tension and the subconscious act of calming down when you know you’re about to spend some time listening to stimulating music. For all we know, it might even be a placebo thing and a lot of scientists see the Mozart effect as such. The good news is that all of these possibilities can coexist without any worrying contradictions because for whatever reason, making your brain happy and excited actually makes you temporarily smarter.

Back to music!

Since this is sort of a musical blog, let’s make a final effort to clarify how the whole thing works:

Listening to enjoyable music stimulates the release of certain neurotransmitters in your head – very roughly put, these are chemicals that pass information between brain cells. This means certain connections in your brain are temporarily enhanced. The final result is that you actually experience an intellectual increase, if only for a short time – hopefully enough to get that dreadful work done!

By the way, let’s be clear, all of this works BEFORE you start working or studying. Music may actually hurt your efficiency if you listen to it while performing tasks. If you insist, however, on listening to music WHILE you do whatever it is that bores you so much that you’re not doing it right now but instead you’re reading blog posts on why Mozart is a bad mother, here are a few things you might want to have in mind:

– Anything works. When scientists looked at different kinds of music – depending on the predisposition of the particular test subject, they found that any kind of music that’s arousing to the brain can improve its performance.

– That said, it might be best to choose music with no lyrics so you don’t get distracted by what’s being sung. Keep that Adele album away from your workstation or bitter tears of regret might prevent you from noticing that thing your boss considers the most important thing in the world.

– Choose songs you know so well that your brain almost doesn’t pay attention to them. It’s very important NOT to listen to music that’s too exciting, because that’s just going make you jump around the room moronically. And that’s not what grownups do. Sure, WE do it in the office but we’re not grownups. Don’t imagine child labor please, just Drooble :)

Oh, one last thing: Some people take it TOO FAR. Don’t do that.

3 Comments

  1. Adam Trainor

    Hahah what a cool article! The headline got me :))

  2. Bill Masters

    Hahahah nicely done! :)))

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