Can Musical Engagement Alleviate Age-Related Decline in Inhibitory Control?


The purpose of our study was to determine whether active musical engagement alleviates decline in inhibitory control due to cognitive aging. Given that musical training in young adults improves attentional performance, we can expect this benefit to persist for older adults as well. With the help of the stop-signal procedure, we measured response inhibition of young and older adults who provided a self-reported assessment of their musical engagement, using the recently validated Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index. The Gold-MSI addresses a variety of musical activities and thus offers a more comprehensive measure than ability to play a musical instrument used in the past. Results of the experiment showed that older participants had longer stop-signal reaction times, independently of their musical training and engagement, but musical training and ensemble practice were negatively related to the proportion of missed responses suggesting a weak effect of certain types of musical activities on inhibitory control.

Back to Table of Contents