Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Music training improves verbal memory

Abstract

Magnetic resonance imaging has shown that the left planum temporale region of the brain is larger in musicians than in non-musicians1. If this results from a change in cortical organization2,3, the left temporal area in musicians might have a better developed cognitive function than the right temporal lobe. Because verbal memory is mediated mainly by the left temporal lobe, and visual memory by the right4,5, adults with music training should have better verbal, but not visual, memory than adults without such training. Here we show that adults who received music training before the age of 12 have a better memory for spoken words than those who did not. Music training in childhood may therefore have long-term positive effects on verbal memory.

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Figure 1: Mean number of words recalled by adults with and without music training.

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