Muting the Mozart Effect
Editor’s Note: This study refers to musical enrichment in the form of young children listening to music as well as musical social play (also known as the Mozart Effect) and does not comment on the cognitive or neurological effects of learning how to play an instrument.
[Source: PLOS One]
Two Randomized Trials Provide No Consistent Evidence for Nonmusical Cognitive Benefits of Brief Preschool Music Enrichment
Young children regularly engage in musical activities, but the effects of early music education on children’s cognitive development are unknown. While some studies have found associations between musical training in childhood and later nonmusical cognitive outcomes, few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been employed to assess causal effects of music lessons on child cognition and no clear pattern of results has emerged. We conducted two RCTs with preschool children investigating the cognitive effects of a brief series of music classes, as compared to a similar but non-musical form of arts instruction (visual arts classes, Experiment 1) or to a no-treatment control (Experiment 2). Consistent with typical preschool arts enrichment programs, parents attended classes with their children, participating in a variety of developmentally appropriate arts activities. After six weeks of class, we assessed children’s skills in four distinct cognitive areas in which older arts-trained students have been reported to excel: spatial-navigational reasoning, visual form analysis, numerical discrimination,
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