The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice

Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work


Stephen L. Black - Bishop’s University

Author Note:
I thank Helen Black for helpful comments and E. Glenn Schellenberg for generously providing the raw data from his study. I also thank the editor, Scott Lilienfeld, for making possible this exchange of views when the editor of Psychological Science declined to do so.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephen L. Black, Department of Psychology, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1M 1Z7; e-mail:

Schellenberg (2004) reported that music lessons increase the IQ of children more than comparable nonmusical activ-ities do. However, this conclusion was based on a comparison that pooled two music groups (keyboard and voice) and two control groups (drama and no lessons). Pooling the controls negates the value of the drama group as a control for nonspecific factors. In a reanalysis, contrasts with the drama group were examined. They showed that the IQ of each music group following lessons did not differ significantly from those of the drama group. Moreover, increases in IQ for the music groups, separately and pooled, also did not differ significantly from those of the drama group. Thus, the hypothesis that music lessons specifically enhance IQ is not supported.

You can read the full text of this article in
The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, vol. 4, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2005-06).
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