Can musical engagement alleviate age-related decline in inhibitory control?

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The purpose of our study was to determine whether active musical engagement alleviates decline in inhibitory control due to cognitive aging. Given that musical training in young adults has been shown to improve attentional performance,
we can expect this benefit to persist for older adults as well. With the help of the stop-signal procedure, we measured response inhibition of young and older adults who provided a self-reported assessment of their musical engagement, using the recently validated Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index. The Gold-MSI addresses a variety of musical activities and thus offers a more comprehensive measure than the ability to play a musical instrument used in the past. Results of the experiment showed that older participants had longer stop-signal reaction times, independently of their musical training and engagement, but musical training and ensemble practice were negatively related to the proportion of missed responses suggesting a weak effect of certain types of musical activities
on inhibitory control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
EditorsA. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, J. C. Trueswell
Place of PublicationAustin, TX
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2016
EventCogSci 2016 - Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201613 Aug 2016


ConferenceCogSci 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • inhibitory control
  • musical sophistication
  • attention
  • cognitive aging
  • stop-signal task


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