The effect of musical training on the neural correlates of math processing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in humans

Neurosci Lett. 2004 Jan 16;354(3):193-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.10.037.


The neural correlates of the previously hypothesized link between formal musical training and mathematics performance are investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). FMRI was performed on fifteen normal adults, seven with musical training since early childhood, and eight without, while they mentally added and subtracted fractions. Musical training was associated with increased activation in the left fusiform gyrus and prefrontal cortex, and decreased activation in visual association areas and the left inferior parietal lobule during the mathematical task. We hypothesize that the correlation between musical training and math proficiency may be associated with improved working memory performance and an increased abstract representation of numerical quantities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Mathematics*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Music*
  • Photic Stimulation