The effects of music mnemonics on the behavioural mechanisms and related brain plasticity of verbal memory and learning in aMCI
School/Affiliation:University of Toronto
Co-Authors:Dr. Michael Thaut
Virtual or In-person:In-person
Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) is a neurological disease characterized as an early stage of cognitive decline, primarily in memory function. aMCI is considered a salient group to research, due to their substantial vulnerability to progress to dementia. Memory training which induces neuroplasticity demonstrates potential benefits. Specifically, studies consistently find music-assisted learning to be an effective aid for verbal memory, though focusing primarily on dementia, neglecting aMCI. The present study intends to determine whether this influence of musical mnemonics is apparent in this transitional stage between healthy older adults and dementia. The study protocol will be reciprocal to that of Thaut et al., 2014, involving the administration of an ordered word-list task while simultaneously undergoing electroencephalography (EEG) recording. This within-subject paradigm will measure behavioural differences in memory recall of an ordered word list, presented either sung as a musical mnemonic or spoken. EEG will be utilized for noninvasive task-related imaging, with high temporal resolution of the brainwave measures. Analyses will determine the effects of musical mnemonics as an aid in verbal memory, in amalgamation with the associated system-level brain plasticity. Anticipated results are that older adults with aMCI will exhibit improved verbal learning, and short-term memory of an ordered word list using musical mnemonics, and significantly different learning-related neural synchronization between conditions. A proactive approach to early interventions for aMCI is needed to prevent deterioration in cognition. Fewer dementia cases will have a positive domino effect on our public health system, creating more space and availability for resources and clinicians.