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'Mozart Effect' author Don Campbell dies at 65

June 08, 2012|By David Ng
  • Don Campbell argued that there are beneficial effects from listening to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, seen in a portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce.
Don Campbell argued that there are beneficial effects from listening to… (Universal History Archive…)

Don Campbell, the author who convinced millions around the world that listening to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart makes you smarter, died Saturday at 65 in Colorado, his publicist told the Associated Press. He reportedly had pancreatic cancer.

Campbell wrote the bestselling 1997 book "The Mozart Effect," which argued that listening to the music of Mozart benefits mental and bodily functions, and raises the listener's cognitive levels. His book "The Mozart Effect for Children" persuaded many parents to play Mozart recordings to their children in the belief that the music would enhance brain development.

In addition to his books, Campbell put out CDs featuring compilations of Mozart pieces intended to be played to infants.

Some classical-music experts were skeptical of the Mozart effect and scoffed at Campbell's books. But his writings caught on with the general public and managed to persuade many who normally wouldn’t listen to classical music -- including countless college students cramming for exams -- to give Mozart a try.

Campbell wasn't the originator of the concept: Alfred A. Tomatis, the French researcher scientist, had coined the expression in the early 1990s before Campbell popularized it in his books and CDs.


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