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Do Musical Training and Cognitive Abilities Predict Rhythm Synchronization and Melody Discrimination Performance in Children?

Title:

Do Musical Training and Cognitive Abilities Predict Rhythm Synchronization and Melody Discrimination Performance in Children?

Ireland, Kierla (2014) Do Musical Training and Cognitive Abilities Predict Rhythm Synchronization and Melody Discrimination Performance in Children? Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

A sensitive period for musical training has been proposed. Adult musicians who began lessons prior to age 7 have been found to have superior rhythm synchronization and enhancements in brain structures when compared to musicians who started later in life. These differences exist even when early-trained (ET) and late-trained (LT) groups are matched for musical training, formal lessons, and current practice. Moreover, duration of musical training is associated with better performance on measures of rhythm and melody discrimination. Finally, musical training has been shown to directly improve scores on IQ tests and is highly correlated with measures of auditory working memory and nonverbal reasoning skills. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether sensitive-period effects can be observed in childhood. A secondary aim is to investigate the contributions of age-of-start, duration of lessons, and cognitive abilities to performance on musically relevant tasks. Fifty-one children enrolled in music lessons were tested on measures of rhythm synchronization and melody discrimination. Working memory and nonverbal reasoning abilities were also measured. A subsample of 14 children was compared to age-matched controls with no musical training on a measure of rhythm synchronization. No early-training effect was observed in the matched subsample, while older children (regardless of training) performed significantly better on the rhythm synchronization task. In the full sample, duration of musical training and working memory abilities predicted rhythm synchronization performance. By contrast, the interaction of musical training and age of start, but not working memory, predicted melody discrimination performance.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ireland, Kierla
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:19 August 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Penhune, Virginia
ID Code:979071
Deposited By: KIERLA IRELAND
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 16:39
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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