An Examination of the Relationship Between Prior Musical Sophistication and Language Outcomes in People With Aphasia

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Research suggests there is a neural relationship between music and language, such that higher levels of musical sophistication may be positively correlated with a person’s linguistic and cognitive functioning. Though most of the research has focused on neurotypical individuals, the implication is that musical sophistication could benefit a person with a neurological impairment such as aphasia, perhaps by preserving linguistic abilities after the person has sustained a stroke. The study outlined here seeks to replicate and expand on the findings of Faroqi-Shah et al. (in prep) by looking at musical sophistication’s influence on aphasia severity as well as on specific language and cognitive domains (e.g., syntax, auditory processing, memory, and cognitive control). Knowing what specific domains of language or cognition are involved could help researchers better understand the neural location of musical and linguistic resources as well as the behavioral benefit of increased reserve in a neurologically impaired individual.