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Debunking the Mozart Effect: How to Tell Good Science from Science Myth

Sheet music

In 1993, the journal Nature published research about how listening to classical music improved performance on spatial tasks. Soon, claims about the "Mozart Effect" grew. It was thought that listening to Mozart made babies smarter, or raised their IQ. The Governor of Georgia even made classical music available to all newborns in the state.

Brain Science Pull

It's an example of how good brain science can be be misinterpreted, and it's the reason Pearson learning PhD Liane Wardlow considers herself to be a bit of a myth buster.

Parents and teachers are already so committed to innovative ideas that can make learning better, but it's easy to fall for research claims that just don't hold up. "Resources are scarce," says Liane. "Instructional interventions that are based upon misinterpretations or over-interpretations of brain science take time away from things that do work."

So, Liane and her colleagues are working to debunk what they call "neuromyths"—the off-base brain science that has been popularized in learning. If they're successful, only innovative ideas about good brain science can take root.

According to Liane, these are the top five myths she says are not supported by science:

Myths Box

Liane encourages parents and teachers to be cautious about brain research and latest study findings, and offers these tips when considering research with appealing claims:

Science Claims Box


We'll be delving into these neuromyths and many others over the course of this blog series.