Musicians have a better memory than nonmusicians: a meta-analysis
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Description: Several researchers investigated whether musicians (i.e., people who underwent a long music training) have better performances than nonmusicians (i.e., people who received little to no music training) in memory tasks. Although results suggest an advantage of musicians over nonmusicians in various tasks, some studies did not observe this advantage. For this reason, we ran a meta-analysis with the aim of understanding whether there is any positive effect of the music training on memory in young adults. We collected 29 studies that included 53 different tasks. Tasks were divided in three categories, depending on the system of memory tapped: long-term memory, short-term memory, and working memory. Three meta-analyses were conducted separately for each memory system. We also tested the effect of a possible moderator that we defined as the type of stimuli (i.e., verbal, visuospatial, and tonal) used in the study. The three meta-analyses revealed a medium effect-size (i.e., a musicians’ advantage) in short-term memory and in working memory suggesting that the music training benefits these two memory systems. Moreover, there was an effect of the moderator, suggesting that the type of stimuli modulates the results. In short term memory and working memory the advantage of musicians was large with tonal stimuli, moderate with verbal stimuli and small to null for visuospatial ones. In contrast, in long-term memory the effect-size was small, with no effect of the moderator.