cognitive ability

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

Boston Children's Hospital brain image

This image shows functional MRI imaging during mental task switching: Panels A and B shows brain activation in musically trained and untrained children, respectively. Panel C shows brain areas that are more active in musically trained than musically untrained children. Credit: Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, Boston Children’s Hospital

 

Another study has revealed a biological link between early music training and improved executive functioning in children and adults. The controlled study by researchers from the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital used functional MRI brain imaging to show the connection. Executive functions are the high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviours, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.

SOURCES:

Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617211020.htm

PLOS One: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099868

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADULTS
AGE: 9-12 YEARS & 18-35 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 57 (27 CHILDREN & 30 ADULTS)
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2014
PLACE: USA

Music training develops neural mechanisms needed for focused attention

Auditory brain image

Diagram from the Auditory Neuroscience lab of Northwestern University

 

Attention is a critically important aspect of education. Learners are constantly bombarded by a barrage of sounds and distractions, even in a quiet classroom, and so being able to focus attention has a direct correlation with your ability to learn and to enhance your performance. A study by researchers led by Dr Nina Kraus of Northwestern University suggests that music training can help people’s auditory attention to mature during pivotal developmental years and is believed to provide the first direct evidence of a ‘biological index for enhanced selective auditory attention in young musicians’. The researchers say that is an important consideration for educators and educational policy-makers involved in curriculum design.

SOURCES:

Brainvolts (Northwestern University): http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Strait_DCN_2015.pdf

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, ATTENTION
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADULTS
AGE: 3-35 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 78
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2014, published Jan 2015
PLACE: USA

The scientific reasons we should teach music to kids in school

Music mic

Tom Barnes summarises the scientific reasons why schools in America should not cut music education, referencing studies into cognitive abilities, confidence, attendance levels and civic responsibility.

SOURCE:

Music.Mic: http://mic.com/articles/94992/the-scientific-reasons-we-should-teach-music-to-kids-in-school

What if … every child had access to music education

Another powerful presentation from academic Anita Collins, asking what the impact might be if a generation’s cognitive abilities are raised – and she gives evidence that it’s possible – through music education.