They also described Carroll's book as "a much-needed Rosetta stone " for future human intelligence researchers. It was a fulfillment of something that most of us would agree needed to be done, but it seemed too vast an undertaking to imagine how it could ever be done effectively and adequately. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Book about human intelligence measurement. January Carroll, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. Human cognitive abilities: A survey of factor-analytic studies". Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. April Gifted Child Quarterly.
Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. Educational Researcher.
Joel; McGrew, Kevin S. January 1, In Flanagan, Dawn P. Guilford Press. In McArdle, John J. Human Cognitive Abilities in Theory and Practice. As with the matched-subjects approach, we used age-based z scores for all musical tasks to control for differences due to maturation.
To reduce multicollinearity with its power terms, we centered the variable AoS at its mean for each age group; this centered variable was used as the basis for all regression analyses [ 29 ]. For Simple Melodies, a linear regression model with only Matrix Reasoning accounted for 4. Adding AoS contributed 3. Power terms did not add any independent variance to the model. For Transposed Melodies, a linear regression model with only Working Memory accounted for 4.
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Adding Weekly Practice Hours contributed 7. Neither AoS nor any of its power terms accounted for independent variance to the model. For Rhythm Synchronization, a linear regression model with only Working Memory accounted for 7. Neither AoS nor any of its power terms accounted for additional variance to the model. The results of this study showed that children who began training before age seven performed better on a simple melody discrimination task than those who started later, after being matched for musical training, demographic and cognitive variables.
Further, both AoS and a measure of global intellectual function independently predicted scores on this task. There were no group differences or effects of AoS for the more complex rhythm synchronization and transposed melody discrimination tasks, but these were significantly predicted by working memory ability.
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Additionally, weekly practice was a strong independent predictor of transposed melody discrimination. These results provide clear evidence for the important contributions of maturational, training and cognitive factors in predicting musical task performance. In the present sample, simple discrimination abilities were highest in those who had started music lessons before ages six and seven. This advantage for low-level pitch processing is likely a function of early maturation in the primary auditory cortex, in which there is a massive increase in the number of synapses and in myelination between ages one and five [ 33 — 36 ].
We and others have hypothesized that music training during periods of rapid maturational change may lead to greater brain plasticity that would promote enhanced learning both immediately and over the long term [ 6 , 37 , 38 ]. We also found that performance on simple pitch discrimination was related to global cognitive ability. There are several ways that cognitive and musical abilities might be related.
This general ability would also support basic music-perceptual abilities which, like other cognitive processes, are hypothesized to be innate and normally distributed [ 40 ]. On the other hand, there is direct causal evidence that musical training during middle childhood, when compared to other types of training, can increase global cognitive ability [ 41 ]. Moreover, in a large longitudinal study of neuropsychological functioning across childhood, raw scores on tasks of global intellect increased sharply between ages 6—10 and reached adult levels by age 12—13 [ 42 ].
Child Development Theories and Examples
These maturational changes coincide with the time at which children in our sample are starting music lessons, and thus changes in cognitive abilities with maturation may also contribute to performance on music tasks. Altogether, our results provide evidence that music training before age seven results in specific gains in simple pitch discrimination, that are likely linked with developmental peaks in brain regions supporting basic auditory processing and with global cognitive development.
In contrast, we found no evidence that earlier start of training differentially contributed to rhythm synchronization ability. This is not consistent with results from studies with adult musicians showing that those who begin training before age seven outperform those who begin later on rhythm tasks [ 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 ]. However, our finding is consistent with the maturation of rhythmic abilities in childhood: beat perception is in place by infancy [ 43 — 45 ], but auditory-motor integration does not develop fully until mid- to late adolescence [ 46 , 47 ].
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Moreover, rhythmic tapping tasks require basic fine-motor abilities that do not mature until late childhood [ 48 , 49 ]. For instance, children aged 6—8 improved on a tonal discrimination task after two years of music lessons, but rhythm discrimination did not appear to change [ 50 ]. Similarly, in children receiving music lessons from ages 7—13, there were improvements in the detection of pitch errors, but not timing errors, as measured with EEG [ 16 , 51 ].
To integrate the results of studies with child and adult musicians, we hypothesize that children must be older, have matured in terms of motor abilities, and have accrued substantial training to perform well on this task.
This is supported by our previous findings using the same task with 7—13 year-old children showing continuing improvement with age, and that years of lessons contribute significantly to performance [ 18 ]. This supports previous findings that scores on the task were correlated with measures of working memory in children [ 18 ] and adults [ 2 , 3 ].
For discrimination of transposed melodies, we also found no differences between matched ET and LT groups, and no effect of AoS. Similar to rhythm synchronization, there was a significant association between working memory and task performance.
These findings demonstrate a strong, likely bidirectional relationship between musical training and working memory. On the one hand, playing music requires attending to and holding sequences of notes in mind, and applying the correct motor program to execute movements.
These skills are supported by working memory which, like global cognitive function, develops most sharply between ages 6—10 and reaches adult levels by age 12—13 [ 42 ]. On the other hand, music practice directly enhances working memory through repetition of increasingly complex sensory-motor skills. Correspondingly, children with musical training have been found to have better performance on tasks of verbal and visuospatial working memory [ 52 ].
Thus, children with a better working memory capacity may be likely to engage in music training, and by doing so may enhance this skill. We also found that hours of weekly practice, but not AoS or duration of musical training, significantly predicted transposed melody discrimination. This is consistent with findings from studies with adults that lifetime music practice accounted for more than two-thirds of the variance in performance on the same task [ 53 ]. This task is more difficult because it requires the participant to ignore contour, a highly salient auditory feature [ 54 ].
The only cue that differentiates the melodies is interval structure, or the change in pitch from one note to the next [ 55 ]. Children actively learn about interval structure through reading and repetition of musical scales during music practice. More than the other tasks in this study, transposed discrimination seems to require active engagement with music training, and with regular weekly practice specifically.
Our findings provide the first evidence in children that earlier start of music training results in better performance for simple melody discrimination, even when controlling for years of experience. This is likely a metaplastic effect where starting music training during a time of peak neurodevelopmental change produces better immediate and long-term learning. Performance for the more complex rhythm and transposition tasks did not show an effect of age of start and transposition ability was related to hours of practice. Performance for all music tasks was related to cognitive ability, indicating that cognitive skills likely both promote engagement in music and may be enhanced by training.
Integrating these results with those for adult musicians, we hypothesize that early training has an immediate impact on skills like simple melody discrimination that develop early, while more complex abilities, like synchronization and transposition require both further maturation and additional training. The authors express gratitude to PKPT and others who have tested child participants.
We are grateful to Explorations and Suzuki summer camps, and to the hundreds of children and their parents who accepted to participate.