Send to

Choose Destination
Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Jan;35(1):55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.06.022. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Enhanced attention-dependent activity in the auditory cortex of older musicians.

Author information

Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:


Musical training improves auditory processing abilities, which correlates with neuro-plastic changes in exogenous (input-driven) and endogenous (attention-dependent) components of auditory event-related potentials (ERPs). Evidence suggests that musicians, compared to non-musicians, experience less age-related decline in auditory processing abilities. Here, we investigated whether lifelong musicianship mitigates exogenous or endogenous processing by measuring auditory ERPs in younger and older musicians and non-musicians while they either attended to auditory stimuli or watched a muted subtitled movie of their choice. Both age and musical training-related differences were observed in the exogenous components; however, the differences between musicians and non-musicians were similar across the lifespan. These results suggest that exogenous auditory ERPs are enhanced in musicians, but decline with age at the same rate. On the other hand, attention-related activity, modeled in the right auditory cortex using a discrete spatiotemporal source analysis, was selectively enhanced in older musicians. This suggests that older musicians use a compensatory strategy to overcome age-related decline in peripheral and exogenous processing of acoustic information.


Aging; Auditory; Auditory cortex; Event-related potentials; Musical training

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center