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Covert orienting of visual attention in non-musicians and musicians with formal music training

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Felipe Viegas Rodrigues
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Gilberto Fernando Xavier; Jose Lino Oliveira Bueno; Leonor Bezerra Guerra; Ronald Dennis Paul Kenneth Clive Ranvaud; Luiz Eduardo Ribeiro do Valle
Advisor: Gilberto Fernando Xavier

Attention corresponds to selection or preferential processing of information maintained in certain portions of the neural network. Musicians seem to exhibit better performance relative to non-musicians in attention-dependent tasks, which is ascribed to sight-reading of scores that activates multiple brain regions, including areas involved on orienting of attention. The present study investigated covert orienting of visual attention in people exposed to prolonged study of music, thus becoming capable of sight-reading. In addition, we investigated if continuation of formal music study after getting into the University (School of Music) leads to significant chance in working memory, as evaluated by the 2-back test involving letters, relative to non-musicians that also get into the University but in a distinct area (Biology). The results in the covert attention test showed that non-musicians exhibit an asymmetry in visuo-spatial orienting of attention; their reaction times for target-stimuli presented in the right hemifield were significantly smaller than those observed for stimuli presented in the left hemifield. In addition, non-musicians exhibited validity effect only for target-stimuli presented in the right hemifield. In contrast, musicians did not exhibit significant differences in reaction times for target stimuli presented in the left or right hemifields; however, these reaction times were smaller than those seen for non-musicians for stimuli presented in the left hemifield. Despite this difference, musicians also exhibited an asymmetry, that is, their validity effect was also restricted to target stimuli presented in the right hemifield. Musicians and non-musicians did not differ in the working memory test. Together, these results indicate that formal music study relates with changes in the processes of orienting of attention. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 06/02484-1 - Does music study improve attention and working memory performance?
Grantee:Felipe Viegas Rodrigues
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)