Attention in musicians is more bilateral than in non-musicians

Laterality. 2007 May;12(3):262-72. doi: 10.1080/13576500701251981.


Attention in neurologically intact adults normally errs towards the left side of space, as documented in studies involving tasks of visual attention (i.e., line bisection). The aim of this study was to further investigate lateralisation of attention in musicians and non-musicians. Reaction times and accuracy were recorded to stimuli presented to the left and right of a vertical line in 20 right-handed musicians and 20 matched non-musician controls. While both groups performed more accurately to left-sided stimuli, performance by the musician group was significantly more accurate than the non-musician group for the right-sided stimuli. Musicians also had faster reaction times overall. Consistent with previous research, the results indicate a more balanced attentional capacity in musicians, as well as enhanced visuomotor ability, and are interpreted with reference to extended musical training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Reaction Time
  • Visual Perception / physiology