Musical development during adolescence: Perceptual skills, cognitive resources, and musical training

Müllensiefen, Daniel; Elvers, Paul and Frieler, Klaus. 2022. Musical development during adolescence: Perceptual skills, cognitive resources, and musical training. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1518(1), pp. 264-281. ISSN 0077-8923 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Longitudinal studies on musical development can provide very valuable insights and potentially evidence for causal mechanisms driving the development of musical skills and cognitive resources, such as working memory and intelligence. Nonetheless, quantitative longitudinal studies on musical and cognitive development are very rare in the published literature. Hence, the aim of this paper is to document available longitudinal evidence on musical development from three different sources. In part I, data from a systematic literature review are presented in a graphical format, making developmental trends from five previous longitudinal studies comparable. Part II presents a model of musical development derived from music-related variables that are part of the British Millennium Cohort Study. In part III, data from the ongoing LongGold project are analyzed answering five questions on the change of musical skills and cognitive resources across adolescence and on the role that musical training and activities might play in these developmental processes. Results provide evidence for substantial near transfer effects (from musical training to musical skills) and weaker evidence for far-transfer to cognitive variables. But results also show evidence of cognitive profiles of high intelligence and working memory capacity that are conducive to strong subsequent growth rates of musical development.

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Research Funding: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Anneliese Maier Research Award


adolescence, intelligence, longitudinal study, music perception, musical development, working memory

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15 September 2022Accepted
17 October 2022Published Online
December 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

20 Oct 2022 11:13

Last Modified:

10 Jan 2023 09:23

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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