Research Topic

Music Training, Neural Plasticity, and Executive Function

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Music training is emerging as an important model system for studying experience-dependent brain plasticity, and for the development of therapeutic interventions for healthy brain aging and treating neural disorders. Reports over the last few decades have firmly established that music training is associated ...

Music training is emerging as an important model system for studying experience-dependent brain plasticity, and for the development of therapeutic interventions for healthy brain aging and treating neural disorders. Reports over the last few decades have firmly established that music training is associated with structural and functional changes to sensory and motor regions involved in music processing. More recently, investigators have identified effects of music training that extend beyond sensory and motor systems to higher cognitive functions. For example, reports indicate that music training is associated with improvements on measures of executive functions, such as inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility, which coincide with structural and functional changes in brain regions implicated in these cognitive processes. Positive effects of music training have been reported across the lifespan, and include facilitation of reading and language skills, selective attention, and auditory and verbal working memory. Since executive functions include a range of cognitive abilities associated with distributed cortical regions, progress in understanding how musical training facilitates executive functions will depend on development of models to describe the regions and neural circuits that mediate these processes.

This Research Topic is intended to provide an opportunity for investigators using a variety of complementary approaches to discuss recent advances in our understanding of the relationships between music, neural plasticity, and executive functions. Researchers using behavioral approaches coupled with measurements or manipulations of brain structure and function are encouraged to contribute original empirical research. In addition, we welcome theoretical reviews or models of the neural circuitry implicated in effects of music training on executive functions.


Keywords: Music training, Neural plasticity, EEG, fMRI, Executive Function


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