MUSICIANS HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO DEMONSTRATE significantly better verbal memory abilities than do nonmusicians. In this study, we examined whether forms of music engagement other than formal music training might also predict verbal memory performance. Gender, socioeconomic status, and music performance variables were controlled in the main study; IQ was also assessed for a subset of participants. While performance musicianship remained a stronger predictor of verbal learning and memory, convincing evidence is presented that nonperformance music engagement (listening activity) also predicted verbal memory measures. The role of music engagement was independent of control factors both in the main study results and in the subset. The findings highlight the need for a more extensive conceptualization of musicianship in research that examines the impact of music on cognitive performance.
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