Semester of Graduation

August 2018


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The relationship between musicality and cognitive abilities has been a popular topic in the media and among researchers over the last 25 years. Research has been inconsistent on whether musicality influences performance on non-musical complex tasks, such as measures of working memory and fluid intelligence. Inconsistencies regarding results between studies have arisen partly due to differences in sample and task selection, in addition to conflicting interpretations of results. Consequently, we conducted an individual differences investigation on the prediction of working memory (tonal, verbal, and visuospatial) and fluid intelligence by measures of musicality (formal years of musicality training, musical sophistication, melodic memory, and beat perception). Using correlational and regression approaches, the results showed that individual measures of musicality did not predict performance on each complex cognitive measure uniformly. These results suggest that relationships between musicality and cognitive abilities can be potentially influenced by measurement selection, and musical experiences and abilities underlie cognitive abilities differentially. Further exploration is needed to understand how and why these relationships occurred.



Committee Chair

Elliott, Emily