Short-term second language and music training induces lasting functional brain changes in early childhood

Child Dev. Mar-Apr 2015;86(2):394-406. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12297. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Immediate and lasting effects of music or second-language training were examined in early childhood using event-related potentials. Event-related potentials were recorded for French vowels and musical notes in a passive oddball paradigm in thirty-six 4- to 6-year-old children who received either French or music training. Following training, both groups showed enhanced late discriminative negativity (LDN) in their trained condition (music group-musical notes; French group-French vowels) and reduced LDN in the untrained condition. These changes reflect improved processing of relevant (trained) sounds, and an increased capacity to suppress irrelevant (untrained) sounds. After 1 year, training-induced brain changes persisted and new hemispheric changes appeared. Such results provide evidence for the lasting benefit of early intervention in young children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Music*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*