Thoughts about bogus and or pseudoscientific educational/intelligence theories

Multiple Intelligences, the Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence A Critical Review

Inadequate evidence for Multiple Intelligences, Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence Theories

The entire issue of that journal seems to be about this topic, but my university does not have online access to the journal, so i can’t post the other papers. Too bad. To be fair, it is best to read the papers of both sides. However, the issue seems to be so one-sided that there is no need in this case.


Multiple intelligences (MI) theory (Gardner, 1983), the Mo-

zart effect (ME) theory (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1993), and

emotional intelligence (EI) theory (Salovey & Mayer, 1990)

have had widespread circulation in education. All three theo-

ries have been recommended for improving classroom learn-

ing (Armstrong, 1994; Campbell, 2000; Gardner, 2004;

Glennon, 2000; Rettig, 2005), and all three theories have

been applied in classroom activities (Elksnin & Elksnin,

2003; Graziano, Peterson, & Shaw, 1999; Hoerr, 2003).

AlthoughMI theory (Gardner, 1983) and EI theory (Salovey

& Mayer, 1990) were proposed before the emergence of public

Internet use and the ME was postulated just as Internet use be-

gan to flourish (Rauscher et al., 1993), education (.edu) Web

sites representing these theories have increased at 10 times the

rate of increase of professional journal articles on these theories.

Table 1 reports a 3-year, six time point snapshot of the increase

in both professional journal articles and Web sites. Between

June 1, 2003 and December 1, 2005 Google™-accessed MI

.eduWeb sites increased from 25,200 to 258,000,ME .eduWeb

sites increased from 1,082 to 12,700, and EI .edu Web sites in-

creased from 14,700 to 220,000. By contrast, between these

same two dates, Pubmed database accessed professional journal

articles did not even double:MI articles increased from 12 to 17,

ME articles increased from 33 to 41, and articles on EI in-

creased from 464 to 801.

In addition to the increase in Web sites and articles out-

lined on Table 1, there has also been an increase in the num-

ber of education workshops on these three theories. In the

6-month period between June 1, 2005 andDecember 1, 2005,

Google™ site:edu workshops identified for MI increased

from 10,600 to 48,300,ME workshops increased from 124 to

192, and EI workshops increased from 9,180 to 45,100.

Because these three theories have wide currency in educa-

tion they should be soundly supported by empirical evidence.

However, unfortunately, each theory has serious problems in

empirical support. This article reviews evidence for each the-

ory and concludes that MI theory has no validating data, that

the ME theory has more negative than positive findings, and

that EI theory lacks a unitary empirically supported con-

struct. Each theory is compared to theory counterparts in

cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience that have

better empirical support. The article considers possible rea-

sons for the appeal of these three theories and closes with a

brief rationale for examining theories of cognition in the light

of cognitive neuroscience research findings.


From this alone, it is very clear that there is something fishy going on.

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