Does Classical Music Really Make YOU Smarter?
Myth or Reality?
For the past few decades, the convoluted theory that classical music makes you more "intelligent" has been passed down from generations to the next. But is such a questionable theory true? Another theory even claims that playing classical music to an infant expands the spacial-relationship skills area of their brains, thus, causing them to become "smarter" individuals. Is that theory genuinely dependable? The answer for these trite questions is unfortunately, unequivocally...no. Of course, this is an open-ended question to many, but according to research, studies, and even my own experiences, such a theory is not true in any shape or form.
If you have ever listened to classical music before, you probably noticed that many notes repeat over and over and over again. These repetitions cause brain neurons to fire at various frequencies. Therefore, every time the note repeats, neurons in the brain will fire at the same spot and at the same frequency, thus creating a neural pathway. This method is believed to have caused advancements in IQ scores and other intelligent tests. Afterwords, a major theory came into existence. This theory is the Mozart effect theory, which claims an increase in brain development in children under 3 when they listen to music of the famous classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This theory is believed to increase a person's spacial skills, but it certainly does not make them any smarter.
Studying with classical music...does it help?
Ever heard of the popular myth that playing classical music while studying increases your chances of receiving better grades? Here is the explanation to this: the neural pathway that classical music creates when the same notes repeat strengthens itself as we add information to the pathway. Think of it this way: when you run on the treadmill, you burn calories, correct? But when you set your treadmill on incline and start running, you don't only burn calories, but you strengthen your leg muscles. Connecting this back to the neural pathway, the neural pathways that the brain exhibits become harder and stronger when we add information over them. This pathway-strengthening and increase of neural firings is called Long-Term potentiation, which basically enhances your long-term memory.
Long-term potentiation allows you to remember things for a longer period of time. Thus, it does not make you any smarter, nor more intelligent. Regarding the theory that putting classical music for an infant child will increase IQ scores, it is evident that intelligence is an inherited characteristic of a human being; therefore, all what classical music does is that it stimulates certain areas of the brain to fire at specific frequencies. The possibilities that classical music will make your child "more intelligent" are very slim, and even if such a rare possibility happens, please note that this does not apply to everyone. In simpler words, there is a correlation between classical music and intelligence, but this correlation does not indicate causation. What do you think? Vote to your right!
Example of note-repetition in classical music. Enjoy!
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