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Examining the Possibility of Cognitive Advantages on Measures of Inhibitory Control in Relation to Heightened Levels of Musical Expertise.

Moore, Stephen (2018) Examining the Possibility of Cognitive Advantages on Measures of Inhibitory Control in Relation to Heightened Levels of Musical Expertise. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Inhibitory control (IC), one of the three major components of executive functions that underlie goal-directed behaviour, appears to be a prime candidate for cognitive improvement as a result of increased musical expertise. Whilst the direct relationship is established, the underlying mechanisms that facilitate this improvement are poorly understood. Impulsivity, a personality trait that can be manifested when inhibitory control is dysfunctional, was hypothesised to potentially be one of the underlying mechanisms that influences improvements in inhibition post-musical learning. To test this hypothesis, ninety-six participants (M = 24.9 years, SD = 8.5) completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), Dickman Impulsivity Inventory (DII) and the Goldsmith’s Musical Sophistication Index (Gold-MSI). A multiple regression analysis was then performed to see whether scores of musical training and musical sophistication could predict lower scores on both measures of impulsivity. No significant relationship could be found, indicating that musical training and sophistication are poor predictors of impulsivity. The present study could not, therefore, elucidate on the foundational mechanisms that facilitate IC improvement following the gain of musical expertise. The implications of these findings are discussed in consideration of the limiting factors that may have contributed to the results.

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