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jdavidb (1361)

jdavidb
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http://voiceofjohn.blogspot.com/

J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Monday January 17, 2005
10:27 AM

The Mozart effect: possibly not real

[ #22754 ]

Sarah and I attended a Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance Friday night with some extra tickets my dad had. This got me thinking about the need to play classical music to my baby. After all, everyone knows about the Mozart effect, where playing classical music stimulates alpha brain waves and, over time, improves your I.Q. Everyone knows babies and children should be exposed to classical music, especially Mozart. I just saw a large collection of Mozart's music on 40 CD's at Half Price Books the other day, but it was $100, and, money being tight and about to become tighter, I was figuring I would have to stick to our local classical radio station, WRR.

Well, it turns out, according to the above link, that the Mozart effect might just possibly have been exaggerated. In fact, it might actually be a statistical insignificance.

Boy, do I feel stupid. "Alpha waves"? Sounds like something somebody made up. (According to wikipedia, such waves do exist.) How could I have been taken for a ride like this?

Of course, I learned about the Mozart effect in public school, from at least two teachers, whom I knew I could trust. One was my calculus and pre-calculus teacher, and another was my English teacher. Neither one ever spoke a word about the Mozart effect being questioned or disputed. It was something everybody knew.

This just makes me angry and strengthens my resolve to educate my children myself. My children will learn about topics like the Mozart effect from sources like Wikipedia, where people have argued and debated over the subject, where multiple sources of information are open to public examination and criticism, where critical thinking is encouraged rather than just swallowing every pet theory that comes around.

My children will probably still listen to Mozart. But everyone in our family will have our eyes wide open.

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  • Of course, I learned about the Mozart effect in public school, from at least two teachers, whom I knew I could trust. One was my calculus and pre-calculus teacher, and another was my English teacher. Neither one ever spoke a word about the Mozart effect being questioned or disputed. It was something everybody knew.

    This just makes me angry and strengthens my resolve to educate my children myself.

    Um, I'd guess that you were in public school more than a couple of years ago - which means that it was at the

    • My point is that what was presented to me was not presented as new research which had not yet been confirmed, but as fact that could now be taken for granted. The real point behind that is to get at the fact that I was encouraged to simply accept what I was told rather than to learn to evaluate new ideas in a rational spirit of inquiry. Nobody said, "There's some new evidence that listening to Mozart might have a positive effect." What was said was, "They've discovered that listening to Mozart stimulates

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • a) I've attended public schools (they only 'private' schools in Austria are 'owned' by the catholic church, and are /very/ conservative) and while stuff like this 'mozart effect' probably were discussed, they would never have been presented as a fact.

    b) My kids are rather bright (and not saying this because I'm their father and have to, but because other people say so, too). The never listend to Mozart. In fact they listend to Beastie Boys, Coldcut, German/Austrian HipHop and other stuff that's not targett
    • a) Public schools sure vary a lot from country to country (and in the U.S., state to state and county to county). Education-wise, the main point of this journal entry is that children need to be taught to critically evaluate new ideas presented to them, and that the failure of my own excellent local schools to do so in myself reinforces my previously made decision to homeschool my children.

      b) You're absolutely right. I was once committed to starting my independent life without a television at all, but t

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Ours is a literate house, and Joseph is already responding to Daddy reading to him in the womb.

        Great. My 16 year old son, Jordan, still enjoys having me read to him. That started when he was a toddler - making up a bed-time story every night for a couple of years (he would choose the topic and I'd then have to make up the story - "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Light Bulb"), which turned into reading from kids books (Richard Scary was a favourite), then reading "regular" books (he heard "The Hobb

        • He is never to be seen these days without a book available, in case there are a few moments that would otherwise be "wasted" time

          That's the way to be. :)

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • If you don't trust public school teachers, why trust Wikipedia, either, which is even less reliable?
    • I don't trust Wikipedia, per se. Wikipedia just opens up the process to review by myriads of sources, making it more likely that if some item is controversial or uncertain that controversy or uncertainty will be reflected. Ultimately, Wikipedia opens up the process of source checking; hard-to-believe facts will tend to be challenged and sourced if there is a source (or removed if not).

      Imagine the whole Rather memo fiasco concentrated and put on one website, with each viewer of the website having equal p

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers