“People who can process information quickly, ignore distractions, and switch smoothly from one task to another are at an enormous advantage in the workplace,” writes Tom Jacobs in Monday’s (11/19) Pacific Standard (Santa Barbara, CA). “New research identifies one subset of the population that disproportionately possesses those precise abilities: trained, experienced musicians…. The results ‘add support to the mounting evidence of the positive relationship between music training and cognitive function,’ write psychologists Katherine Sledge Moore and Pinar Gupse Oguz of Arcadia University, and Jim Meyer of Elmhurst College. Most of those enhanced abilities were limited to what they referred to as ‘music experts.’ … But one very important skillset, ‘executive functioning,’ was also bolstered for lightly trained amateur players. This suggests that even limited training and practice can provide significant cognitive benefits…. The goal of this new research was to confirm that link using … a standardized set of tests that measure … focus, processing speed, working memory … and executive function (the ability to plan, organize, and accomplish goals).… [In] the executive-function test, which involved rapidly sorting pictures by shape and color, … modestly trained musicians performed significantly better than non-musicians (although not as well as highly trained musicians).”

Posted November 21, 2018