October 11, 2002


Research by UCO Student, Professor Shows Mozart May Not Be So Beneficial After All

Results of a recent study by University of Central Oklahoma psychology student Matisha Montgomery and UCO cognitive psychology Professor Kathleen Donovan indicate the so-called “Mozart Effect” may be a bunch of bunk.

The study has won accolades for Montgomery, who found earlier research to be off key.

A 1993 study by scientists at the University of California at Irvine indicated that 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart’s “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major” showed temporary improvements in IQ tests.

The experiment resulted in somewhat of a phenomenon called the “Mozart Effect,” which led people to believe that listening to classical music could build brainpower in themselves or their children.

However, when Montgomery and Donovan conducted a replica of the 1993 test, they discovered the opposite effect.
They found that students actually did worse on cognitive tasks from an IQ test.

“Matisha came up with the idea of testing the ‘Mozart Effect’ after one of her high school teachers forced her class to listen to classical music while they were taking a test,” Donovan said. “The UC-Irvine experiment was very limited in its scope and their results have failed to be repeated by others.

“Unfortunately, the media did not pick up on this and millions of young parents are misguided about the importance of listening to Mozart.”

For her work on refuting the “Mozart Effect,” Montgomery recently received second place in the National Psi Chi/Allyn & Bacon national research paper competition.

Montgomery’s paper was titled “The ‘Mozart Effect’ on Cognitive and Spatial Task Performance, Revisited.”
In addition to a cash award, copies of the research were distributed at the national annual conference of the American Psychological Association in Chicago, and an abstract of the paper will be highlighted in the national publication “Eye on Psi Chi.”

Results of Montgomery and Donovan’s research also were recently featured on the CBS radio program, “The Osgood File.”
Montgomery, the daughter of Jimmie and the late Harold Montgomery of Eufaula, has previously won state and national recognition for her joint research with Donovan. Montgomery is currently enrolled as a graduate student at UCO.

Contact: Charles Johnson, News Bureau Director (405) 974-2315