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BMC Neurosci. 2015 Sep 16;16:59. doi: 10.1186/s12868-015-0200-4.

Musical ability is associated with enhanced auditory and visual cognitive processing.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
2
Academy of Manual Medicine, Münster, Germany.
3
Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany. everss@uni-muenster.de.
4
Department of Neurology, Krankenhaus Lindenbrunn, Lindenbrunn 1, 31863, Coppenbrügge, Germany. everss@uni-muenster.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Musical ability has always been linked to enhanced cognitive and intellectual skills. We were interested in the relation between musical ability and short-time cognitive processing as measured by event-related potentials, in particular in visual processing, since previous studies have already suggested such a link for acoustic cognitive processing. We measured auditory and visual event-related potentials as elicited by an oddball paradigm in 20 healthy subjects (10 musicians and 10 non-musicians; 10 female; mean age 24 ± 2 years). In addition, the Seashore test and a test developed by the authors to detect relevant amusia, the latter one with a high ceiling effect, were also applied.

RESULTS:

The most important finding was that there is a significant linear correlation between musical ability as measured by these tests and the P3 latencies of both the auditory and visual event-related potentials. Furthermore, musicians showed shorter latencies of the event-related potentials than non-musicians.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that musical ability as measured by neuropsychological tests is associated with improved short-time cognitive processing both in the auditory and, surprisingly, also in the visual domain.

PMID:
26377548
PMCID:
PMC4574220
DOI:
10.1186/s12868-015-0200-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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