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Exposure to a musically-enriched environment; Its relationship with executive functions, short-term memory and verbal IQ in primary school children.

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Scherder, Erik JA 


BACKGROUND: Previous literature has shown a putative relationship between playing a musical instrument and a benefit in various cognitive domains. However, to date it still remains unknown whether the exposure to a musically-enriched environment instead of playing an instrument yourself might also increase cognitive domains such as language, mathematics or executive sub-functions such as for example planning or working memory in primary school children. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. METHOD: Exposure to a musically-enriched environment like listening to music at home, during play or when attending concerts was assessed using a comprehensive intake questionnaire administered to a sample of 176 primary school children. Furthermore, participants completed the verbal intelligence section of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC III), performed executive sub-function tasks such as planning (Tower of London), working memory (Klingberg Matrix backward span) and inhibition (Go/no-Go task), and a short-term memory task (Klingberg Matrix forward span). RESULTS: Linear and multiple regression analyses showed no significant relationship between exposure to a musically-enriched environment, executive sub-functions (planning, inhibition and working memory), and short-term memory. The relationship between an enriched musical environment and verbal IQ has revealed trends. DISCUSSION: Experiencing a musically enriched environment does not serve as predictor for higher performance on executive sub-functions, however, can influence verbal IQ.



Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Executive Function, Female, Humans, Intelligence, Language, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Music, Social Environment

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PLoS One

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)