The interplay between musical training and working memory performance

Elangovan, S., and Suárez, L. (2014) The interplay between musical training and working memory performance. Annals of the Academy of Medicine Singapore, 43 (9). S18-S18.

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Background & Hypothesis: Musical training has been shown to enhance cognitive domains in a wide variety of areas such as IQ, verbal, attention span and visuospatial abilities. Research suggest that the working memory might play a role in mediating the cognitive benefits seen in musicians. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the cognitive benefits of musicians and non-musicians using the framework of Baddeley's (2000) working memory model.

Methods: Sixty-nine participants from James Cook University (Singapore) were recruited through convenience sampling. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and an Advanced Measures of Music Audiation test (Gordon, 1989) to confirm the self-reported data of musicians. Then, participants completed 6 experimental tasks designed to measure the different aspects of working memory: verbal memory, visuospatial memory, and attentional capacity. The study was approved by the human research ethics committee.

Results: The results revealed musicians outperformed non-musicians only in 2 working memory tasks, which involved visual-motor coordination, visual perceptual speed, sequencing skills, rote learning, and spatial and motion memory. No benefits were found regarding verbal memory.

Discussion & Conclusion: This study provides evidence that musical training produces positive effects related to specific aspects of visuospatial memory and attentional capacity. According to Cheong et al (2013), persons with early cognitive impairment face risk of diminished mental capacity. This study opens doors to new research on if musical training could help promote cognitive functioning in those with early cognitive impairment. This will help to promote patients' reintegration into community living (Saifudin, Eu, & Hendriks, 2013).

Item ID: 36252
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 0304-4602
Keywords: working memory, music
Additional Information:

This abstract was published in volume 43 (supplement) number 9 of Annals of the Academy of Medicine Singapore as part of the Proceedings of the Singapore Health and Biomedical Conference: redefining healthcare for the future - educating, innovating and leading for progress, from SHBC 2014: Singapore Health and Biomedical Conference held 26-27 September 2014 in Singapore.

Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2014 05:43
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170299 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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