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Does music study improve attention and working memory performance?

Grant number: 06/02484-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2006
Effective date (End): October 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Physiological Psychology
Principal Investigator:Gilberto Fernando Xavier
Grantee:Felipe Viegas Rodrigues
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The formal study of music leads, directly or indirectly, to a series of alterations in brain structure. Schlaug (2001) points for the existence of volumetric alterations in the corpus callosum, motor cortex and cerebellum of professional musicians. Correlations between music study and intelligence have also been described. Schellenberg (2004) showed that music study leds to small, but significant, improvement of the IQ of six-year old children. However, correlations between music study and attention are still scarce. Janata, Tillman and Bharucha (2002) advanced that music appreciation recruits neural circuits underlying multiple forms of working memory, attention, semantic processing, target detection and motor imagery. Working memory and attention are related functions; The central executive of Baddeley's working memory model corresponds to a supervisory attentional system (Baddeley, 1992). Improvements of visual abilities in musicians have been described (Costa-Giomi et al., 2001). Sluming et al. (2002) proposed that such alterations are related to the ability of first sight reading developed by musicians. The present project proposes to investigate to which extent music study generates measurable alterations in the functioning of spatial and temporal attention, by means of variants of the Posner's covert attention paradigm (1980), and also to evaluate if formal study of music leads to changes in the working memory span. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
RODRIGUES, Felipe Viegas. Covert orienting of visual attention in non-musicians and musicians with formal music training. 2011. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB) São Paulo.

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