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A specific relationship between musical sophistication and auditory working memory

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Meher LadORCiD, Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022. The Author(s). Previous studies have found conflicting results between individual measures related to music and fundamental aspects of auditory perception and cognition. The results have been difficult to compare because of different musical measures being used and lack of uniformity in the auditory perceptual and cognitive measures. In this study we used a general construct of musicianship, musical sophistication, that can be applied to populations with widely different backgrounds. We investigated the relationship between musical sophistication and measures of perception and working memory for sound by using a task suitable to measure both. We related scores from the Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index to performance on tests of perception and working memory for two acoustic features-frequency and amplitude modulation. The data show that musical sophistication scores are best related to working memory for frequency in an analysis that accounts for age and non-verbal intelligence. Musical sophistication was not significantly associated with working memory for amplitude modulation rate or with the perception of either acoustic feature. The work supports a specific association between musical sophistication and working memory for sound frequency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lad M, Billig AJ, Kumar S, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific reports

Year: 2022

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 03/03/2022

Acceptance date: 22/02/2022

Date deposited: 04/04/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-07568-8

PubMed id: 35241747


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