Music training improves verbal but not visual memory: cross-sectional and longitudinal explorations in children

Neuropsychology. 2003 Jul;17(3):439-50. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.17.3.439.


The hypothesis that music training can improve verbal memory was tested in children. The results showed that children with music training demonstrated better verbal but not visual memory than did their counterparts without such training. When these children were followed up after a year, those who had begun or continued music training demonstrated significant verbal memory improvement. Students who discontinued the training did not show any improvement. Contrary to the differences in verbal memory between the groups, their changes in visual memory were not significantly different. Consistent with previous findings for adults (A. S. Chan, Y. Ho, & M. Cheung, 1998), the results suggest that music training systematically affects memory processing in accordance with possible neuroanatomical modifications in the left temporal lobe.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Music / psychology*
  • Verbal Learning*
  • Visual Perception*