A study from the University of Edinburgh found a correlation between early musical experience and later mental acuity.
The relationship between youth and better (or improved) mental abilities in old age has been investigated by researchers. According to the study, those who had more musical experience performed better on a test of cognitive ability than those who had less or no musical experience.
These individuals belonged to the “Lothian Birth Cohort 1936.” They are a group of people from Edinburgh and the Lothians who participated in the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey and were all born in 1936. The study, which was supported by Age UK and the Economic and Social Research Council, was published in the journal Psychological Science.
The participants in the study underwent testing on a variety of physical and mental abilities as they aged. Even the standardised cognitive ability exam that each participant took when they were 11 years old was retaken as part of the study. The tests covered numerical analysis, spatial awareness, and verbal reasoning.
117 of the 366 survey participants reported having played an instrument at some point. They gained the majority of their experience while still young and growing up.
Professor Ian Deary, said: “We have to emphasise that the association we found between instrument-playing and lifetime cognitive improvement was small and that we cannot prove that the former caused the latter.” “However, as we and others search for the many small effects that might contribute toward some people’s brains ageing more healthily than others, these results are worth following up,” added Deary, who is a former director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the university.