Recent research: July/August 2017
Musicians react faster
A new study suggests that professional musicians react more quickly than non-musicians when exposed to audio, tactile, and a combination of audio-tactile stimulations. According to researchers at the Université de Montréal, "These results suggest for the first time that long-term musical training reduces simple non-musical auditory, tactile, and multisensory reaction times."1 These results have important therapeutic implications for aging adults and others with slower reaction times.
1S. P. Landry, F. Champoux. Musicians react faster and are better multisensory integrators. Brain and Cognition 111, Dec. 2016.
The psychology of tone deafness
Although as many as 17% of adults identify as being tone deaf, only about 4% of the population actually suffer from the clinical condition called amusia. Psychologists now believe that individuals who self-assess as tone deaf lacked musical exposure as children. A recent study suggests that "family music participation and positive attitudes towards music… can predict with 74% accuracy which students choose to continue in elective music."1 Adults who participated in musical activities as children were statistically less likely to identify as tone deaf, regardless of their objective musical abilities.
1S.M. Demorest, J. Kelley, P.Q. Pfordresher. Singing ability, musical self-concept, and future music participation. Journal of Research in Music Education 64(4), 2017.