Musical Training and Executive Functions

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Learning and performing music draws on a host of cognitive abilities. One likely aspect of cognition that may be related to musical training is executive function. To date, many studies have investigated this relationship; however, results from such studies are mixed and difficult to compare. In part, this is because most studies look at only one specific cognitive process, and even studies looking at the same process use different experimental tasks. The current study addresses these issues by administering a well-validated EF battery of multiple tasks tapping each EF component (Friedman et al., 2008) and a comprehensive measure of musical training (Müllensiefen, Gingras, Musil, & Stewart, 2014) to obtain reliable measures of individual differences in EF and musical experience. Results suggest that there is positive relationship between musical training and performance on updating tasks, but this relationship is not observed with performance on inhibition or shifting tasks.