The Impact of Music Making on Dual-Task Performance in Healthy Older Adults
MetadataShow full item record
Doctoral dissertation, PhD / Open Access
Objective: Music making is a unique, multifaceted activity that has been linked to improved cognitive functioning across numerous domains and related neuroanatomical changes in children and adults. However, the effect of music making on cognition in older adulthood has been relatively under-studied. Characterizing this relationship, including underlying neural mechanisms and particular associations with executive functioning, is essential for broadening our understanding of music’s role in healthy aging. Additionally, exploring the relationship between music making and physical variables, as well as the moderating influence of sex, will serve to further define its potential benefits. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess neural, cognitive, and physical correlates of music making in a sample of healthy older adults using an ecologically valid dual-task walking (DTW) paradigm. Methods: Study participants (N=415) were identified as musicians if they currently played a musical instrument or sang on a weekly basis (n=70). A DTW paradigm that included functional near-infrared spectroscopy was used to measure neural activation in the prefrontal cortex, as well as cognitive performance and gait velocity. Improved neural efficiency was established by the presence of lower task-related brain activation in the context of similar or better behavioral performance. Linear mixed effects models (LMEM) were used to examine the impact of music making on neural activation and task performance in addition to moderating change from single to dual-task conditions, defined as dual-task costs. Stratified LMEMs were analyzed to assess the moderating effect of sex on associations between music making and study outcomes. Results: Findings clearly indicate that older adult musicians exhibit greater neural efficiency, as compared to non-musicians. Additionally, reduced dual-task costs in musicians was consistently observed with an attenuated decrease in cognitive and gait performance from single- to dual-task conditions. Stratified LMEMs clarified that results were significant only for female musicians. Potential Implications: Study results support the benefit of music making for healthy aging through increased neural efficiency and relatedly enhanced cognitive reserve, particularly among women. This emphasizes music’s utility across the lifespan, including its role as a recommended leisure activity and as a potential tailored intervention for specific candidates (e.g., older women).
Jacobs, S. (2021). The Impact of Music Making on Dual-Task Performance in Healthy Older Adults (Publication No. 29319962) [Doctoral dissertation, Yeshiva University]. PQDT
*This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise.
The following license files are associated with this item: