Effects of music and dance training on executive functions in children
D'Souza, Annalise Aleta
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A body of evidence demonstrates superior executive functions in musicians, although most previous studies are cross-sectional. Dance, being similar to music, also offers potential for transfer to cognitive performance. A controlled experiment was used to isolate the causal influence of music and dance training on the executive functions of working memory, interference control, and task switching. Children between 6-9 years old were randomly assigned to music or dance groups, and tested on executive functions before and after training. Following training, significant decreases in global and local switch cost were observed, but no change on measures of working memory or interference control. Results show 15 days of training transferred to improved task switching, with no difference between groups. The current study provides early evidence on the influence of dance training on task switching in children, and the similarity between music and dance on executive functions.