TechDigits

Tech news
Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

Playing music in childhood linked to a sharper mind in old age, study suggests

Playing music in childhood linked to a sharper mind in old age, study suggests

Researchers find link between learning instrument while young and improved thinking skills later in life
The ageing rocker clinging on to their youth may be a figure of mockery, but research suggests they should be envied for their sharpness of mind.

Researchers have found a link between learning a musical instrument in youth and improved thinking skills in old age. People with more experience of playing a musical instrument showed greater lifetime improvement on a test of cognitive ability than those with less or no experience, a paper from the University of Edinburgh has said.

Researchers found that this was the case even when accounting for their socio-economic status, years of education, childhood cognitive ability, and their health in older age.

But professor emeritus Ian Deary, formerly director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the university, said: “We have to emphasise that the association we found between instrument-playing and lifetime cognitive improvement was small, and that we cannot prove that the former caused the latter.

“However, as we and others search for the many small effects that might contribute toward some people’s brains ageing more healthily than others, these results are worth following up.”

Out of the 366 study participants, 117 reported some experience of playing a musical instrument – mostly during childhood and adolescence.

The most commonly played instrument was the piano, but many other instruments were played, such as accordion, bagpipes, guitar and violin.

Study participants were part of the “Lothian Birth Cohort 1936” – a group of individuals from Edinburgh and the Lothians, born in 1936, who took part in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947.

The individuals were tested on a number of physical and mental functions as they grow older, including retaking the standardised cognitive ability test each took as an 11-year-old, which included questions requiring verbal reasoning, spatial awareness and numerical analysis.

Cohort members who had retaken the test aged 70 were questioned about their lifetime musical experiences by researchers keen to find out if musical experience is related to healthy ageing.

In the study, the team used statistical models to look for associations between a person’s experience of playing a musical instrument and changes in their thinking skills between the ages of 11 and 70.

The university said the findings provided fresh evidence that playing an instrument is associated with small but detectable cognitive benefits over a lifetime.

Judith Okely, now a lecturer in psychology at Napier University, said: “These results add to the evidence that activities that are mentally challenging, such as learning to play a musical instrument, might be associated with better thinking skills.”

Katie Overy, senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh’s Reid School of Music, said: “Music has so much to offer as a fun, social activity – it is exciting to find that learning to play a musical instrument may also contribute to healthy cognitive ageing.”

The study was funded by Age UK and the Economic and Social Research Council and was published in the journal Psychological Science.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
0:00
0:00
Close
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
Melinda French Gates Advocates for Increased Female Representation in AI to Prevent Bias
Snapchat+ gains 4 million paying subscribers in its first year
Apple Makes History as the First Public Company Valued at $3 Trillion
Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
EU and UK's Slow Electric Vehicle Adoption Raises Questions About the Transition to Green Mobility
Top Companies Express Concerns Over Europe's Proposed AI Law, Citing Competitiveness and Investment Risks
Meta Unveils Insights on AI Usage in Facebook and Instagram, Amid Growing Calls for Transparency
Crypto Scams Against Seniors Soar by 78% in 2022, Experts Urge Vigilance
The End of an Era: National Geographic Dismisses Last of Its Staff Writers
Shield Your Wallet: The Perils of Wireless Credit Card Theft
Harvard Scientist Who Studies Honesty Accused Of Data Fraud, Put On Leave
Putting an End to the Subscription Snare: The Battle Against Unwitting Commitments
The Legal Perils of AI: Lawyer Faces Sanctions for Relying on Fictional Cases Generated by Chatbot
ChatGPT’s "Grandma Exploit": Ingenious Hack Exposes Loophole in AI, Generates Free Software Codes
The Disney Downturn: A Near Billion-Dollar Box Office Blow for the House of Mouse
A Digital Showdown: Canada Challenges Tech Giants with The Online News Act, Meta Strikes Back
Distress in the Depths: Submersible and Passengers Missing in Titanic Wreckage Expedition
Mark Zuckerberg stealing another idea: Twitter
European Union's AI Regulations Risk Self-Sabotage, Cautions smart and brave Venture Capitalist Joe Lonsdale
Nvidia GPUs are so hard to get that rich venture capitalists are buying them for the startups they invest in
Chinese car exports surge
Reddit Blackout: Thousands of Communities Protest "Ludicrous" Pricing Changes
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
×