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Evidence for a sensitive period for musical training


Evidence for a sensitive period for musical training

Bailey, Jennifer Anne (2013) Evidence for a sensitive period for musical training. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Bailey_PhD_F2014.pdf - Accepted Version


The aim of the current dissertation was to investigate evidence for a sensitive period for musical training. The first study examined behavioural performance on an auditory-motor synchronization task and cognitive abilities in three groups: early-trained musicians, late-trained musicians, and non-musicians. The early-trained musicians were better able to reproduce the auditory rhythms, even after controlling for differences in musical experience using a matching paradigm. Both musician groups outperformed the non-musician group. The second study used these same groups of participants and their performance data to investigate differences in grey matter structure associated with early musical training. Several different structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging analysis techniques were used to examine differences in grey matter between groups and results suggest greater grey matter volume and cortical surface area in the right ventral pre-motor cortex among early-trained musicians. Extracted values from this region of difference correlated with auditory-motor synchronization performance and age of onset in the musician groups. Previous literature supports the role of the pre-motor cortex in the auditory rhythm task, as well as timed motor movements (Chen, Penhune, & Zatorre, 2008). The third study used a larger, un-matched sample of musicians to examine the relationship between age of onset of musical training as a continuous variable and performance on the auditory-motor synchronization task. In addition, individual working memory scores and years of formal training were considered as task correlates. These findings suggest the presence of a non-linear relationship between age of onset of musical training and auditory-motor synchronization performance. Working memory scores seemed to predict task performance, regardless of when musical training began; however, years of formal training was a significant predictor of task performance only among those who began at an earlier age. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis of a sensitive period for musical training and shed light on the complexity of the relationship between brain maturation processes and training-induced plasticity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bailey, Jennifer Anne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:29 April 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Penhune, Virginia
ID Code:977488
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 14:10
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
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