Study: Music training beginning after age 8 could spur better decision-making

Posted on: September 6, 2017

“Parents aware of how music training can boost their children’s cognitive development may be eager to get them into a practice room as soon as possible,” writes Tom Jacobs in Tuesday’s (9/5) Pacific Standard (Santa Barbara, CA). “But new research … reports that, faced with a complex decision-making task, participants who began musical training after age eight made better choices than those who started earlier, or never took lessons at all…. A team led by Kirsten Smayda of the University of Texas–Austin [state] in the journal Psychology of Music … that various regions of the brain develop at different rates…. They designed an experiment featuring 69 people between the ages of 18 and 32…. Participants were divided into three groups: Those who had ‘at least eight years of training beginning at, or before, age 8’; those who had the same amount, but began at age nine or later; and non-musicians…. All played a series of rounds of the Iowa Gambling Task, which is designed to simulate real-life decision making…. Players’ scores were compiled…. The result: Musicians who began training later than age eight performed significantly better than either non-musicians, or their musical peers who began lessons earlier in life.”

Posted September 6, 2017