Credit: dianiro78

Listening to Mozart does not make you smarter, researchers from the Austrian composer's homeland say, contradicting a popular 1993 study that first coined the Mozart effect.

A team at Vienna University's Faculty of Psychology compiled studies that have since 1993 sought to reproduce the Mozart effect and found no proof of the phenomenon's existence, the university said in a statement.

The original study showed that adolescents performed better in reasoning tests having listened to Mozart's 1781 Sonata for Two Pianos in D major than those who listened to something else or those who had been in a silent room.

But after analysing around 3000 individual cases compiled from 40 studies conducted around the world, the University of Vienna team found no proof that the Mozart effect actually exists.

Those who listened to music, Mozart or something else - Bach, Pearl Jam - had better results than the silent group. But we already knew people perform better if they have a stimulus, head researcher Jakob Pietschnig said.

I recommend everyone listen to Mozart, but it's not going to improve cognitive abilities as some people hope, he said.

When the research was first published it had a considerable impact on public opinion, leading creches in the United States to play classical music and the southern US state of Georgia to give newborns a free CD of classical music.

The Mozart effect is ranked sixth in US psychologist Scott E Lilienfeld's 2009 book 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology.