Long-term positive associations between music lessons and IQ

  • Schellenberg E
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In Study 1 (N 147), duration of music lessons was correlated positively with IQ and with academic ability among 6- to 11-year-olds, even when potential confounding variables (i.e., family income, parents’ education, involvement in nonmusical activities) were held constant. In Study 2 (N 150), similar but weaker associations between playing music in childhood and intellectual functioning were evident among undergraduates. In both studies, there was no evidence that musical involvement had stronger associations with some aspects of cognitive ability (e.g., mathematical, spatial–temporal, verbal) than with others. These results indicate that formal exposure to music in childhood is associated positively with IQ and with academic performance and that such associations are small but general and long lasting.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognitive development
  • Intellectual development
  • Intelligence
  • Musical training
  • Positive transfer

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  • E. Glenn Schellenberg

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