Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Musical aptitude relates to reading ability

Date:
October 17, 2011
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Auditory working memory and attention, for example the ability to hear and then remember instructions while completing a task, are a necessary part of musical ability. But musical ability is also related to verbal memory and literacy in childhood. New research shows how auditory working memory and musical aptitude are intrinsically related to reading ability, and provides a biological basis for this link.

Auditory working memory and attention, for example the ability to hear and then remember instructions while completing a task, are a necessary part of musical ability. But musical ability is also related to verbal memory and literacy in childhood.

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions shows how auditory working memory and musical aptitude are intrinsically related to reading ability, and provides a biological basis for this link.

Researchers from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University tested children on their ability to read and to recognize words. This was compared to the extent of their auditory working memory (remembering a sequence of numbers and then being able to quote them in reverse), and musical aptitude (both melody and rhythm). The electrical activity within the children's brains was also measured as auditory brainstem responses to rhythmic, or random, sounds based on speech.

The team lead by Dr Nina Kraus found that poor readers had reduced neural response (auditory brainstem activity) to rhythmic rather than random sounds compared to good readers. In fact the level of neural enhancement to acoustic regularities correlated with reading ability as well as musical aptitude. The musical ability test, specifically the rhythm aspect, was also related to reading ability. Similarly a good score on the auditory working memory related to better reading and to the rhythm aspect of musical ability.

Dr Kraus explained, "Both musical ability and literacy correlated with enhanced electrical signals within the auditory brainstem. Structural equation modeling of the data revealed that music skill, together with how the nervous system responds to regularities in auditory input and auditory memory/attention accounts for about 40% of the difference in reading ability between children. These results add weight to the argument that music and reading are related via common neural and cognitive mechanisms and suggests a mechanism for the improvements in literacy seen with musical training."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dana L Strait, Jane Hornickel and Nina Kraus. Subcortical processing of speech regularities predicts reading and music aptitude in children. Behavioral and Brain Functions, (in press) 2011

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Musical aptitude relates to reading ability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111016212019.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2011, October 17). Musical aptitude relates to reading ability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111016212019.htm
BioMed Central. "Musical aptitude relates to reading ability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111016212019.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins