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Roll over Beethoven: Only Mozart’s music boosts the brain, say scientists

LISTENING to Mozart can increase the brain wave activity linked to memory, understanding and problem-solving, scientists have found.

However, no such increases were apparent after the subjects listened to Beethoven, suggesting there is something about the effect of Mozart’s music in particular on our minds.

The researchers, from Sapienza University of Rome, said it appeared that Mozart’s music activated circuits of nerve cells in the brain related to attention and thinking.

They added: “The results were not a consequence of listening to music in general.”

For the study, published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, the researchers used EEG machines to record the electrical activity of the participants’ brains.

The group consisted of 10 young healthy adults with an average age of 33, 10 healthy elderly adults with an average age of 85, and 10 elderly people with mild cognitive impairment with an average age of 77.

Recordings were made before and after they listened to Allegro con spirito from the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K448 by Mozart. They also listened to Fur Elise, by Beethoven.

“The results of our study show an increase in the power and frequency index of background activity in both adults and in the healthy elderly after listening to Mozart,” they said.

“This brain wave activity is linked to intelligent quotient, memory, cognition and (having an) open mind to problem solving. No changes in EEG activity were detected in adults and in the elderly after listening to Beethoven.”

A previous study, published in 1993, found that listening to K448 could also improve spatial reasoning skills.