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The impact of music training programs on inhibition control in children: a meta-analysis

The impact of music training programs on inhibition control in children: a meta-analysis

Presenter Name:Kevin Jamey

School/Affiliation:Université de Montréal

Co-Authors:Nicholas E. V. Foster, Krista L. Hyde, Simone Dalla Bella


A vast literature exists on the relationship between executive functioning and music training in adults. It is still unclear, however, whether or not music training causes a strengthening in executive control during child development. Inhibition control is an important executive function for music practice and is often required when synchronizing in an ensemble, prioritizing among auditory streams and processing complex rhythms. The main objective of this study is to examine if music-based training programs can increase inhibition control abilities in children.  This study performed a meta-analysis of longitudinal changes in inhibition control during music training in children. A rigorous literature search of studies from 1995 to 2019 yielded 1559 potential studies of which 10 studies reported data from longitudinal randomized control designs in children aged between 4 to 12 years. Inhibition control measures included the flanker, go/no-go and stroop tests. The meta-analysis of these studies found significantly greater improvement in inhibition control for music training programs than non-music control programs (i.e. sports, visual arts, lego) (SMD = 0.36, CI = 0.11 to 0.60, p = .004). These findings suggest that music training programs lead to skill transfer in inhibition control in young children. Future research can explore how this benefit of music training may be used to promote self-control in the school environment and as a therapeutic tool for clinical populations with inhibition control difficulties, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

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