Memory doing a diminuendo? All you need is a minute of a Mozart ...


Memory doing a diminuendo? All you need is a minute of a Mozart minuet

But whatever you do, do not put on a Mahler symphony, researchers find

Jack Hardy

Listening to Mozart can improve your verbal memory and performance before a test, but the compositions of Mahler have the opposite effect, a study has found.

Researchers sought to examine the so-called “Mozart effect” by using a one-minute clip of the Austrian composer’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to see whether it could help listeners to recall words. It follows decades of debate about the phenomenon, first coined by a 1993 study which claimed Mozart’s music could improve an individual’s IQ. Since then, his classical compositions have been variously credited for a diverse array of benefits, from reducing stress in dogs to cutting the risk of seizures in epilepsy patients.

Now, a study led by Prof Christiane Lange-Kuettner and Stella Rohloff, from London Metropolitan University, has found the music of Mahler can conjure equally bizarre responses. Eighty-four participants split across three groups were asked to memorise a set of words. Before being tested, one group listened to a one-minute clip of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, one to Mahler’s Adagietto, while the third waited in silence...

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