Music has numerous benefits on human health. Research has suggested that getting musical training may improve the flow of blood to the brain areas which are directly included for processing of language.
More recently, listening to music has also been found to motivate the brain by stimulation of neural networks linked with reward processing.
A new study has now suggested that musical training may impact in the attentional control. The link between attention and musical training was deeply researched in this current study.
The scientists got their findings published in a journal called Heliyon.
The link Between Attention and Musical Training
In this paper, the researchers explained how the attentional system of the brain has three subsystems. Each of these subsystems consists of their own distinct neural network.
These subsystems are known to correspond to orienting, altering, and executive control networks.
The alerting networks in the brain keep the people ready for taking action. The orienting network is responsible for distinguishing between the irrelevant and relevant sensory information while helping us switch focus. The executive network aids in blocking any distracting information and also handles the top-down attentional control.
For this study, the investigators included 18 professional musicians and non-musical participants of the same amount in order to take a standard attentional test. The musicians were people who were trained in playing the piano for the last 12 years.
As a part of this test, the participants were instructed to look at different images flashing before their eyes.
At the same time, the researchers the reactive behaviors of every participant by checking how long it took them to respond to the changes in the images. Long reaction time was linked with efficient attentional control.
On average, the trained musicians were able to score 43.84 milliseconds for their alerting subsystem, 53.83 seconds for the executive network, and 43.70 seconds for the orienting system.
Making comparisons to this, the non-musical people were found to score 41.98, 87.19, and 51.56 seconds, respectively. More importantly, their attentional control was found to improve proportionally along with the number of years they spend in training for music.
These findings have demonstrated that musicians tend to have a greater inhibitory control ability as compared to those who have no training in music.
The professional musicians were able to respond to and focus on the task to perform at a faster rate and more accurately. Similarly, there filtered out the incongruent and irrelevant stimuli more effectively as compared to the non-musicians. Additionally, the benefits were enhanced with an increase in the total years of training.
The scientists also explained how their findings add to the already existing evidence of musical training boosting the cognitive skills additional to the music.
The findings of the association between musical training and the enhancement of attentional skills may be useful in educational or clinical fields. For example, strengthening the skills of people suffering from ADHD to manage their distractions or to help develop the school programs necessary for their cognitive development through music.
Further research must be directed in order to address all these interpretations, as per the researchers.