The relation between instrumental musical activity and cognitive aging

Authors: Hanna-Pladdy, Brenda; MacKay, Alicia
Publication:  Neuropsychology, Vol 25(3), May 2011, 378-386.
Publication volume & date:  v. 25(3), May 2011.
Pages:  378-386.
Abridged Abstract:  …we evaluated the association between musical instrumental participation and cognitive aging. Method: Seventy older healthy adults (ages 60–83) varying in musical activity completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. The groups (nonmusicians, low and high activity musicians) were matched on age, education, history of physical exercise, while musicians were matched on age of instrumental acquisition and formal years of musical training. …Results: The results of this preliminary study revealed that participants with at least 10 years of musical experience (high activity musicians) had better performance in nonverbal memory (η2 = .106), naming (η2 = .103), and executive processes (η2 = .131) in advanced age relative to nonmusicians. … Conclusions: These correlational results suggest a strong predictive effect of high musical activity throughout the life span on preserved cognitive functioning in advanced age.
          This study reminded me of the recent research on the possible effects of bilingualism and/or multilingualism at preventing cognitive deterioration in the aging.  A search of PubMed shows  at least some correlation between actively using more than one language and a reduction in cognitive impairment in the aging.  One message?  Speak several languages daily and keep playing your instrument.
UPDATE:  Alan Coady has published a great post with various links related to the topic of music and memory.
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One Response to The relation between instrumental musical activity and cognitive aging

  1. Pingback: » Community Alan Coady's Musical Blog

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