Psychologists Just Used An ‘Incredibles 2’ Plot Point To Squash A Popular Theory

Anyone who grew up in the latter part of the 20th century has probably heard the popular theory that having infants listen to Mozart helps with cognitive development. In fact it was a plot point in the recently released The Incredibles 2, in which baby Jack-Jack further develops his superpowers by listening to the classical composer.

But a recent article in the Huffington Post revealed this is, in fact, a myth.

Professor Christopher Chabris, a cognitive psychologist at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and co-author of The Invisible Gorilla, told HuffPost:

It won’t surprise you to hear that there is no scientific evidence that listening to Mozart can bring out super powers in a baby, or anyone else.

Chabris explained:

In the 1990s, many music companies put out CDs and videos based on exactly this idea, e.g. ‘Mozart Makes You Smarter,’ ‘Baby Mozart,’ which led to ‘Baby Einstein’ and related products. However, the truth is that after many studies, there is no reason to believe that listening to Mozart’s music will make anyone smarter: not adults, not children, not babies, not fetuses.

And he wasn’t the only one.

Jakob Pietschnig, a psychologist at the University of Vienna who has also studied the “Mozart Effect,” said:

The evidence for a performance-enhancing effect of music exposure is depressingly little (i.e., virtually zero).

But there was one ray of light:

It is pretty clear that mere exposure to Mozart/classical music does not do anything to enhance intelligence. However, there are some accounts that suggest that music training may be linked to cognitive abilities to a certain extent.

Not surprisingly, Jack-Jack’s powers are more likely caused by genetics than Mozart.

That didn’t stop people from wanting to believe:

Sorry to burst your collective bubble!

H/T: HuffPost, Twitter




Written by Dana Levinson

Dana Aliya Levinson is an actress, writer, and trans activist. She graduated with honors from the New School where she wrote extensively about political and ethnic identity in the middle-east. She was a 2014-2015 Dramatists Guild Fellow, and has written about politics and trans issues for The Huffington Post, Women's Health, Nylon, and The Notice Blog.