In the current longitudinal study, Saarikivi and colleagues investigated the development of working memory in musically trained and nontrained children and adolescents, aged 9–20. Working memory was measured with the Digit Span (DS) forwards and backwards tests (N = 106) and the Trail-Making A and B (TMT-A and B; N = 104) tests three times, in 2011, 2013, and 2016. Younger musically trained participants outperformed their nontrained peers in the TMT-A, TMT-B and DS forwards tests. These tests all primarily require active maintenance of a rule in memory or immediate recall. In contrast, there were no group differences in the backwards test that requires manipulation and updating of information in working memory. The authors suggest that musical training is more strongly associated with heightened working memory capacity and maintenance than enhanced working memory updating, especially in late childhood and early adolescence.

Saarikivi KA, Huotilainen M, Tervaniemi M and Putkinen V: Selectively Enhanced Development of Working Memory in Musically Trained Children and Adolescents. Front. Integr. Neurosci., 06 November 2019 |

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