the present study investigated whether the association between music lessons and intelligence is mediated by executive functions. Intelligence and five different executive functions (set shifting, selective attention, planning, inhibition, and fluency) were assessed in 9- to 12-year-old children with varying amounts of music lessons. Significant associations emerged between music lessons and all of the measures of executive function. Executive functions mediated the association between music lessons and intelligence, with the measures of selective attention and inhibition being the strongest contributors to the mediation effect. Our results suggest that at least part of the association between music lessons and intelligence is explained by the positive influence music lessons have on executive functions, which in turn improve performance on intelligence tests.
- Received June 6, 2011.
- Accepted July 24, 2011.
- © 2011 by The Regents of the University of California