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Does it really matter? Separating the effects of musical training on syntax acquisition.

Brod, G and Opitz, B (2012) Does it really matter? Separating the effects of musical training on syntax acquisition. Frontiers in Psychology, 3.

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Abstract

The possible transfer of musical expertise to the acquisition of syntactical structures in first and second language has emerged recently as an intriguing topic in the research of cognitive processes. However, it is unlikely that the benefits of musical training extend equally to the acquisition of all syntactical structures. As cognitive transfer presumably requires overlapping processing components and brain regions involved in these processing components, one can surmise that transfer between musical ability and syntax acquisition would be limited to structural elements that are shared between the two. We propose that musical expertise transfers only to the processing of recursive long-distance dependencies inherent in hierarchical syntactic structures. In this study, we taught fifty-six participants with widely varying degrees of musical expertise the artificial language BROCANTO, which allows the direct comparison of long-distance and local dependencies. We found that the quantity of musical training (measured in accumulated hours of practice and instruction) explained unique variance in performance in the long-distance dependency condition only. These data suggest that musical training facilitates the acquisition specifically of hierarchical syntactic structures.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Brod, GUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Opitz, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 13 December 2012
Identification Number : 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00543
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Brod G, Opitz B (2012). Does it really matter? Separating the effects of musical training on syntax acquisition. Frontiers in Psychology 3:543 Available online at: http://www.frontiersin.org/Language_Sciences
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 06 Jun 2013 14:03
Last Modified : 23 Sep 2013 20:00
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/754126

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