Statistical learning and auditory processing in children with music training: an ERP study

Pragati Rao Mandikal Vasuki*, Mridula Sharma, Ronny Ibrahim, Joanne Arciuli

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective
    The question whether musical training is associated with enhanced auditory and cognitive abilities in children is of considerable interest. In the present study, we compared children with music training versus those without music training across a range of auditory and cognitive measures, including the ability to detect implicitly statistical regularities in input (statistical learning).

    Methods
    Statistical learning of regularities embedded in auditory and visual stimuli was measured in musically trained and age-matched untrained children between the ages of 9–11 years. In addition to collecting behavioural measures, we recorded electrophysiological measures to obtain an online measure of segmentation during the statistical learning tasks.

    Results
    Musically trained children showed better performance on melody discrimination, rhythm discrimination, frequency discrimination, and auditory statistical learning. Furthermore, grand-averaged ERPs showed that triplet onset (initial stimulus) elicited larger responses in the musically trained children during both auditory and visual statistical learning tasks. In addition, children’s music skills were associated with performance on auditory and visual behavioural statistical learning tasks.

    Conclusion
    Our data suggests that individual differences in musical skills are associated with children’s ability to detect regularities.

    Significance
    The ERP data suggest that musical training is associated with better encoding of both auditory and visual stimuli. Although causality must be explored in further research, these results may have implications for developing music-based remediation strategies for children with learning impairments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1270-1281
    Number of pages12
    JournalClinical Neurophysiology
    Volume128
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

    Keywords

    • musical training
    • statistical learning
    • SL
    • musical skills
    • event-related potentials
    • ERPs

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