Leonor Neves, a PhD candidate in the Doctoral Program in Psychology, will defend the thesis titled "Does music training provide non-musical benefits? Evidence from auditory, linguistic, and socio-emotional processing". The public defense is scheduled for January 4, 2024, 14:30 at room B1.02 of Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon.
There is a growing body of research on the potential non-musical effects of music training. While transfer to domains tightly related to music (near transfer) are often taken for granted, the possibility of far transfer (to domains substantially different from music) remains controversial. Given the close associations between music, cognitive and socio-emotional processing, we focus on three topics: (1) a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies on neural and behavioral effects of music training on auditory and linguistic processing. We report a positive neurobehavioral enhancement of music training on both domains with a small effect size, high levels of heterogeneity and suggestive evidence of publication bias; (2) a cross-sectional study analyzing associations between children’s emotion recognition skills and socio-emotional adjustment. Higher emotion recognition in prosody is associated with better socio-emotional adjustment, even after accounting for cognitive and socio-demographic factors; and (3) a longitudinal study with children investigating music training effects on near transfer domains (auditory and motor skills), and on a wide range of socio-emotional abilities (far transfer). Music training significantly improved motor skills. Effects on auditory skills were inconclusive, however, and we found no effects of music training on socio-emotional processing. These results are suggestive of near transfer from music training, but not of far transfer. Altogether, these findings advance new knowledge on the extent of music training transfer effects, particularly considering children´s socio-emotional abilities, a topic poorly explored.