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Listening adds up for children;In Brief

Listening to Mozart can improve children's arithmetic, while listening to stories can improve their spelling.

Dr Ann Dowker, lecturer in psychology at St Anne's and Wadham College Oxford, and Prisha Shah, one of her students, set spelling and arithmetic tests for four groups of nine-year-olds after they had listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata, 10 minutes of pop music, 10 minutes of a story and 10 minutes of silence.

Mozart made a "significant and immediate" improvement on children's performance in maths, while the story improved performance in both spelling and maths, but particularly spelling. Both the pop music and silence had no effect on performance.

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