Category Archives: Research

Science clubs may boost socially disadvantaged students’ scientific aspirations (Best Evidence in Brief)

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this time I’m picking this study from their overview:

Extracurricular activities in science, such as after school clubs, may help to increase scientific aspirations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to new research published in the International Journal of Science Education.
Tamjid Mujtaba and colleagues looked at survey responses of 4,780 students in Year 7 (ages 11-12) and Year 8 (ages 12-13) from schools in England with high proportions of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their responses showed that students’ aspirations to study science beyond age 16 were strongly associated with their basic interest in the subject, how useful they thought science was for future careers, and their engagement in extracurricular activities, such as science clubs. In addition, students’ confidence in their own abilities in science and encouragement from teachers and family to continue studying science after age 16 had smaller but still relevant associations.
Overall, the researchers suggest that students from disadvantaged backgrounds would benefit from support and encouragement to continue with science and having access to science-related extracurricular activities.

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Education more important than money for living a longer life?

It’s of course something pleasant to write about for a person who’s life is largely dedicated to education, but this new study by Wolfgang Lutz and Endale Kebede, from IIASA and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) states that rather than the income, instead, the level of education a person has is a much better predictor of life expectancy.

This becomes clear if you compare the next two plots:

From the press release (bold by me):

Rising income and the subsequent improved standards of living have long been thought to be the most important factors contributing to a long and healthy life. However, new research from Wolfgang Lutz and Endale Kebede, from IIASA and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) has shown that instead, the level of education a person has is a much better predictor of life expectancy.

In 1975, Samuel Preston developed the Preston Curve, which plotted the GDP per person on the horizontal axis against life expectancy on the vertical axis. The curve shows a clear but flattening upward trend in life expectancy with increasing GDP. The curves also shift upwards over time which has been explained by better healthcare.

In 1985, John Caldwell and Pat Caldwell suggested instead that lowered mortality resulted from better female education. In their new paper, Lutz and Kebede used global data from 174 countries from 1970-2015 to test the two hypotheses. Whether income or education is more important for improving health and life expectancy is an important question for policymakers deciding where to direct funding.

Lutz and Kebede also plotted life expectancy against the mean years of schooling of the adult population. The curve created is much more linear, suggesting that education is a much better predictor. There is no upward shift of the curve requiring explanation by other factors. Data was subject to multivariate analyses to validate the findings. The same link was found when the curves were adjusted for child mortality.

The researchers point out that better education leads to improved cognition and in turn to better choices for health-related behaviours. Recent decades have seen a shift in the disease burden from infectious to chronic diseases, the latter of which are largely lifestyle-related. As time goes on, the link between education and better health choices, and therefore life expectancy, will become even more apparent.

“This paper is more radical than previous analyses in terms of challenging the ubiquitous view that income and medical interventions are the main drivers of health. It even shows that the empirical association between income and health is largely spurious,” says Lutz.

Previous lines of research at the Wittgenstein Centre, a collaboration between IIASA, WU and the Vienna Institute of Demography, have emphasised the importance of improving education for poverty eradication and economic growth, as well as the ability to adapt to climate change. These findings further back up the call for improved access to education.

The apparent link between health and income found by Preston can be explained by the fact that better education results in both better health and higher incomes.

“The findings matter for the entire global health research community, and they matter for everybody in global development and deciding on funding allocations for the different aspects of development,” says Lutz, adding that funding quality education for all around the world should be a much higher priority.

Check the study (open access) here.

 

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Believe the scientist or not, it also depends on the quality of the audio

It seems a detail, and actually it is. But the devil is in the details in this case for sure as this new study shows that when people listen to recordings of a scientist presenting their work, the quality of audio has a significant impact on whether people believed what they were hearing. Even worse: this was regardless of who the researcher was or what they were talking about. Blimey!

Little extra information not mentioned in both the press release nor in the abstract:

  • For experiment 1: ninety-seven Amazon Mechanical Turk workers listened and responded to both segments.
  • For experiment 2: Ninety-nine Amazon Mechanical Turk workers listened and responded to both radio segments.

From the press release:

Dr Newman, of the ANU Research School of Psychology, said the results showed when it comes to communicating science, style can triumph over substance.

“When people are assessing the credibility of information, most of the time people are making a judgement based on how something feels,” Dr Newman said.”Our results showed that when the sound quality was poor, the participants thought the researcher wasn’t as intelligent, they didn’t like them as much and found their research less important.”

The study used experiments where people viewed video clips of scientists speaking at conferences. One group of participants heard the recordings in clear high-quality audio, while the other group heard the same recordings with poor-quality audio.

Participants were then asked to evaluate the researchers and their work. Those who listened to the poorer quality audio consistently evaluated the scientists as less intelligent and their research as less important.

In a second experiment, researchers upped the ante and conducted the same experiment using renowned scientists discussing their work on the well-known US Science Friday radio program. This time the recordings included audio of the scientists being introduced with their qualifications and institutional affiliations.”It made no difference,” she said.”As soon as we reduced the audio quality, all of a sudden the scientists and their research lost credibility.”

As with the first experiments, participants thought the research was worse, the scientists were less competent and they also reported finding their work less interesting.

Dr Newman said in a time when genuine science is struggling to be heard above fake news and alternate facts, researchers need to consider not only the content of their messages, but features of the delivery.

“Another recent study showed false information travels six times faster than real information on Twitter,” she said.”Our results show that it’s not just about who you are and what you are saying, it’s about how your work is presented.”

A research paper for the study has been published in the journals Science Communication.

Abstract of the study:

Increasingly, scientific communications are recorded and made available online. While researchers carefully draft the words they use, the quality of the recording is at the mercy of technical staff. Does it make a difference? We presented identical conference talks (Experiment 1) and radio interviews from NPR’s Science Friday (Experiment 2) in high or low audio quality and asked people to evaluate the researcher and the research they presented. Despite identical content, people evaluated the research and researcher less favorably when the audio quality was low, suggesting that audio quality can influence impressions of science.

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Are multi-age classes a bad idea for our youngest children?

My wife discussed this new study past weekend with me and it’s quite fascinating. To be clear: the title of this post is something the researchers Ansari and Pianta published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly don’t actually state in their paper, but based on their research it is a question one could ask.

What is their research in brief:

  • This study examined heterogeneity in treatment effects of a coaching intervention.
  • We focus on the classroom age diversity as a potential moderator of treatment.
  • Coaching effects for children were greatest in classrooms with less age diversity.
  • The intervention had no benefits for children in classrooms with greater age diversity.
  • These differences were attributed largely to the role of classroom instructional quality.

So: coaching teachers to have better results worked, unless there was classroom age diversity? To be clear: this doesn’t say as such that multi-age groups in preschool are a bad idea as such. The study discusses a specific coaching intervention MyTeachingPartner and noticed that the effects of this intervention differed based on the differences in the age-composition of classes. And even if you look a bit closer there are is still one positive effect noticeable for the language (more specific the vocabulary) of four-year olds if they are in the same group as five-year olds, but this seems to be an exception to the rule that on average multi-age groups less good. The only way it can be compensated seems to be when the teachers are well-trained. I wrote compensated, not to have a positive effect. So, to conclude, read this excerpt from the conclusion:

Regardless of the underlying reasons for the lack of MTP impacts for children in age-diverse settings, these aforementioned findings are particularly important in light of emerging studies done in preschool programs that serve children of different ages, which have documented only small associations between classroom quality and children’s school success (e.g., Keys et al., 2013; McCoy et al., 2015; Weiland et al., 2013). That is, one potential explanation for the smaller than expected benefits of classroom quality in the existing literature is the age composition of classrooms, which requires continued empirical attention given the rising number of 3-year-olds attending preschool programs across the country. When taken together, what these results suggest is that PD interventions, including the MTP program, should put greater effort in recognizing the challenges that come with teaching in classrooms with greater age diversity. Considering that the majority of schoolteachers feel ill prepared to provide children with differentiated instruction (Manship, Farber, Smith, & Drummond, 2016), one potential target is helping teachers provide children with learning opportunities that match their needs, interests, and mode of learning. An important first step, however, is developing the tools necessary to measure these practices (for further discussion, see: Burchinal, 2017).

Abstract of the study:

Heterogeneity in treatment effects of MyTeachingPartner (MTP), a professional development coaching intervention focused on improving teacher–student interactions, was examined for 1407 4-year-old preschoolers who were enrolled in classrooms that served children between the ages of 3 and 5. On average, there were no consistent impacts of MTP coaching on children’s school performance, but there was evidence of moderation in treatment effects as a function of classroom age diversity, defined as the proportion of children who were not 4 years of age. MTP coaching improved children’s expressive vocabulary, literacy skills, and inhibitory control in classrooms that served primarily 4-year-olds and were less age diverse. These effects were in large part due to MTP causing improvements in teachers’ instructional support that in turn was more predictive of children’s skills in less age-diverse classrooms. Results also indicated that the nature of age diversity did not matter; a greater number of 3- or 5-year-old classmates equally reduced the benefits of the MTP intervention for 4-year-olds. The sole exception occurred for receptive vocabulary, in which case, MTP was most effective in classrooms with a larger number of older (but not younger) children. Taken together, these results suggest that under the right circumstances, the benefits of professional development that improve early childhood educators’ teaching practices can also translate into benefits for students.

 

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Men perceive themselves as smarter

This is a study that can fuel some discussions: in the college biology classroom, men perceive themselves as smarter, even when compared to women whose grades prove they are just as smart. But there is more in this study as the press release explains:

Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral student in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences and lead author of the study, has talked with hundreds of students as an academic advisor and those conversations led to this project.

“I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend,” shared Cooper. “Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were ‘stupid.’ I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it.”

The ASU research team asked college students enrolled in a 250-person biology course about their intelligence. Specifically, the students were asked to estimate their own intelligence compared to everyone in the class and to the student they worked most closely with in class.

The researchers were surprised to find that women were far more likely to underestimate their own intelligence than men. And, when comparing a female and a male student, both with a GPA of 3.3, the male student is likely to say he is smarter than 66 percent of the class, and the female student is likely to say she is smarter than only 54 percent of the class.

In addition, when asked whether they are smarter than the person they worked most with in class, the pattern continued. Male students are 3.2 times more likely than females to say they are smarter than the person they are working with, regardless of whether their class partners are men or women.

A previous ASU study has shown that male students in undergraduate biology classes perceive men to be smarter than women about course material, but this is the first study to examine undergraduate student perceptions about their own intelligence compared to other people in the class.

Is this a problem?

“As we transition more of our courses into active learning classes where students interact more closely with each other, we need to consider that this might influence how students feel about themselves and their academic abilities,” shared Sara Brownell, senior author of the study and assistant professor in the school. “When students are working together, they are going to be comparing themselves more to each other. This study shows that women are disproportionately thinking that they are not as good as other students, so this a worrisome result of increased interactions among students.”

Brownell added that in a world where perceptions are important, female students may choose not to continue in science because they may not believe they are smart enough. These false perceptions of self-intelligence could be a negative factor in the retention of women in science.

Cooper said: “This is not an easy problem to fix. It’s a mindset that has likely been engrained in female students since they began their academic journeys. However, we can start by structuring group work in a way that ensures everyone’s voices are heard. One of our previous studies showed us that telling students it’s important to hear from everyone in the group could be enough to help them take a more equitable approach to group work.”

Abstract of the study:

Academic self-concept is one’s perception of his or her ability in an academic domain and is formed by comparing oneself to other students. As college biology classrooms transition from lecturing to active learning, students interact more with each other and are likely comparing themselves more to other students in the class. Student characteristics can impact students’ academic self-concept; however, this has been unexplored in the context of undergraduate biology. In this study, we explored whether student characteristics can affect academic self-concept in the context of an active learning college physiology course. Using a survey, students self-reported how smart they perceived themselves to be in the context of physiology relative to the whole class and relative to their groupmate, the student with whom they worked most closely in class. Using linear regression, we found that men and native English speakers had significantly higher academic self-concept relative to the whole class compared with women and nonnative English speakers. Using logistic regression, we found that men had significantly higher academic self-concept relative to their groupmate compared with women. Using constant comparison methods, we identified nine factors that students reported influenced how they determined whether they were more or less smart than their groupmate. Finally, we found that students were more likely to report participating more than their groupmate if they had a higher academic self-concept. These findings suggest that student characteristics can influence students’ academic self-concept, which in turn may influence their participation in small-group discussion and their academic achievement in active learning classes.

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Looking at the research on screen time (Best Evidence in Brief)

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this time I’m picking this study from their overview:

Courtney Nugent and Lauren Supplee from Child Trends have released a research brief on five ways screen time can benefit children and families. The brief looks at guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and links to multiple sources of research on the topic, such as journal articles in the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction and Infant and Child Development.
The five recommendations are as follows:
  • Certain kinds of digital tools can support family interactions. For example, using video chat (Skype, Facetime, etc.) allows family members to connect with one another when in-person interactions may not be possible.
  • It’s important to support children’s healthy development through co-viewing and co-playing. For example, it is important that parents answer and ask questions about the material they are co-viewing, point out important concepts, and blend the content they are viewing together into their daily lives and routines.
  • Parents can choose high-quality digital content for their child’s viewing. The brief notes that websites like Common Sense Media, PBS Kids, and Sesame Workshop can help parents decide which apps and programs are best for their children.
  • Like physical tools, digital tools can promote school readiness. According to the brief,research suggests that preschoolers can learn best from well-designed e-books with limited distracting features (such as games and sounds), and when parents’ questions focus on the stories themselves rather than the features of the electronic medium (such as pushing buttons).
  • Digital tools can support parent and child togetherness. For example, technology can elicit exciting topics for conversation and encourage family members to spend time with one another.

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Teaching STEM at university is most of the time still giving lectures

There is a new study which consists of an analysis of more than 2,000 college classes in science, technology, engineering and math. What this study published in Science has found is that 55 percent of STEM classroom interactions consisted mostly of conventional lecturing.Another 27 percent featured interactive lectures that had students participating in some group activities or answering multiple-choice questions with handheld clickers. But well, that is again a form of lecture. Only 18 procent was labeled by the authors as student-centered. This contradicts earlier studies, but there is an easy explanation says the press release:

Much of the previous research into STEM instruction has relied on surveying faculty about their practices. Though the resulting data has proven valuable, Stains said, the flaws of human memory and perception inevitably find their way into that data.

“Surveys and self-reports are useful to get people’s perceptions of what they are doing,” she said. “If you ask me about how I teach, I might tell you, ‘I spend 50 percent of my class having students talk to each other.’ But when you actually come to my class and observe, you may find that it’s more like 30 percent. Our perception is not always accurate.”

So the research team decided to monitor STEM classroom practices with a commonly used protocol that involved documenting many types of student and instructor behavior during every two-minute interval throughout a class. An analysis that accounted for the prevalence of those behaviors allowed the team to identify seven instructional profiles, which were then categorized into three broad teaching styles.

Those efforts also led to the development of an app that runs essentially the same analyses conducted in the study.

“People can do their own measurements and see how they compare to this large dataset — see how either their department or college is doing — and say, ‘This is where we stand. This is where we want to go.'”

In the meantime, the study’s scale and interdisciplinary nature make it a “reliable snapshot” of how STEM gets taught to undergraduate students in North America, its authors said.

The researchers with leading author Marilyne Stains aren’t really pleased with this result and plea for a more student-centered approach. I’m a bit reluctant to follow this lead. It is true that lecturing can most of the time be rather cost-effective than learning-effective. I do think the cost-effectiveness is an important reason why lectures are still very popular. But at the same time a broad categorization as ‘student-centered’ used in this study can also include approaches who are not necessarily effective. I do subscribe to the plea for a more evidence-based approach, or even better an evidence-informed approach.

Abstract of the study:

A large body of evidence demonstrates that strategies that promote student interactions and cognitively engage students with content (1) lead to gains in learning and attitudinal outcomes for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses (12). Many educational and governmental bodies have called for and supported adoption of these student-centered strategies throughout the undergraduate STEM curriculum. But to the extent that we have pictures of the STEM undergraduate instructional landscape, it has mostly been provided through self-report surveys of faculty members, within a particular STEM discipline [e.g., (36)]. Such surveys are prone to reliability threats and can underestimate the complexity of classroom environments, and few are implemented nationally to provide valid and reliable data (7). Reflecting the limited state of these data, a report from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine called for improved data collection to understand the use of evidence-based instructional practices (8). We report here a major step toward a characterization of STEM teaching practices in North American universities based on classroom observations from over 2000 classes taught by more than 500 STEM faculty members across 25 institutions.

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A research question suggestion about that study on music and executive functions

The past few days a lot of people have tweeted about the study I blogged about last week on the positive effect on far transfer of music classes. My wife – a great researcher btw – and myself also discussed this study a bit during the Eastern-weekend and she came up with a great element to research in possible replications. Some other studies on executive functions I blogged about last year where showing a positive effect of having rituals (check the study here), doing things together. Now, singing is also something you often do together in group. So… maybe it’s good that in a new study one should look if the element of singing/studying music together or rather alone has the same effect?

Would love to examine this further, sadly I’m much involved in two other research projects at the moment. So, it’s a suggestion for other researchers (and do keep me posted!)

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Is there really a system 1 and a system 2 in our mind?

A lot of people have read the book by Kahneman Thinking fast and slow, which actually refers to the two thought-systems we as people would have one that is thinking slow, more rationally and one thinking faster, more emotionally driven.

But is this true. A new paper by Melnikoff and Bargh that I found via a tweet by Neuroskeptic collected arguments to say no. Or wait, it’s not really saying it isn’t so, the authors rather try to explain that it ain’t that simple.

I’ll share with you this part of their conclusion which makes it more clear:

We suspect that the response of many researchers when they hear ‘there are not two types of processes’ will be to dismiss the claim out of hand. ‘Of course there are two types of processes. There are unconscious automatic ones, and there are conscious deliberate ones.’ However, we are asking the reader to check their work before accepting the intuitive answer.

Consider this analogy: we say that there are two types of cars, convertibles and hard-tops. No debate there. But now we say: there are two types of cars, automatic and manual transmission. Yes, those are certainly two different types of cars. And still further: there are two types of cars, gasoline and electric motors. Or: foreign and domestic. The point is that all of these are different types of cars. But we all know that there are not just two types of cars overall: convertibles that all have manual transmission, gasoline engines, and are manufactured overseas; and hard-tops that all have automatic transmission, electric engines, and are made in our own country. All around us we see counterexamples, automobiles that are some other combination of these basic features.

So, the issue is not whether mental processes differ on various dimensions – they certainly do. The issue, we argue, is that the degree of alignment between the various dimensions has not been tested. Furthermore, as outlined above, entire swaths of psychological phenomena are characterized by misalignments of these dimensions. Perhaps more troubling, the underlying dimensions themselves lack internal consistency – a problem that, if irremediable, is absolutely fatal to the dual-process typology.

It is time that we as a field come to terms with these issues. With institutions like the World Bank and Institute of Medicine now endorsing our highly speculative and frequently misleading typology, we cannot afford to wait. Luckily, the solution is straightforward: researchers should rigorously explore each feature of a given process one by one, without making assumptions or drawing conclusions about other features that are not being studied. For too long the dual-process typology has obscured the rich diversity of the human mind. Let us embrace that diversity instead.

Abstract of the paper:

It is often said that there are two types of psychological processes: one that is intentional, controllable, conscious, and inefficient, and another that is unintentional, uncontrollable, unconscious, and efficient. Yet, there have been persistent and increasing objections to this widely influential dual-process typology. Critics point out that the ‘two types’ framework lacks empirical support, contradicts well-established findings, and is internally incoherent. Moreover, the untested and untenable assumption that psychological phenomena can be partitioned into two types, we argue, has the consequence of systematically thwarting scientific progress. It is time that we as a field come to terms with these issues. In short, the dual-process typology is a convenient and seductive myth, and we think cognitive science can do better.

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Far transfer through music? This longitudinal study suggests it works!

I’m a musician as some of you might know and very much in favor of music and music lessons, but I’m a bit hesitant about this new study. It sounds like great news: cognitive skills developed from music lessons appear to transfer to unrelated subjects, leading to improved academic performance.

Why I’m not so sure? Well, this kind of far transfer is not something easy to achieve and I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. So, let’s have a look at the press release:

Structured music lessons significantly enhance children’s cognitive abilities — including language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning and inhibition — which lead to improved academic performance. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, the research is the first large-scale, longitudinal study to be adapted into the regular school curriculum. Visual arts lessons were also found to significantly improve children’s visual and spatial memory.

Music education has been decimated in schools around the globe, due to competition with academic subjects and an increasing lack of funding. These days, the opportunity to learn an instrument is seen as more of a luxury than a necessary part of education.

“Despite indications that music has beneficial effects on cognition, music is disappearing from general education curricula,” says Dr Artur Jaschke, from VU University of Amsterdam, who led the study with Dr Henkjan Honing and Dr Erik Scherder. “This inspired us to initiate a long-term study on the possible effects of music education on cognitive skills that may underlie academic achievement.”

The researchers conducted the study with 147 children across multiple Dutch schools, using a structured musical method developed by the Ministry of Research and Education in the Netherlands together with an expert centre for arts education. All schools followed the regular primary school curriculum, with some providing supplementary music or visual arts classes. In these, the children were given both theoretical and practical lessons.

After 2.5 years, the children’s academic performance was assessed, as well as various cognitive skills including planning, inhibition and memory skills.

The researchers found that children who received music lessons had significant cognitive improvements compared to all other children in the study. Visual arts classes also showed a benefit: children in these classes had significantly improved visual and spatial short-term memory compared to students who had not received any supplementary lessons.

“Children who received music lessons showed improved language-based reasoning and the ability to plan, organize and complete tasks, as well as improved academic achievement,” says Dr Jaschke. “This suggests that the cognitive skills developed during music lessons can influence children’s cognitive abilities in completely unrelated subjects, leading to overall improved academic performance.

The researchers hope their work will contribute to highlighting the importance of the music and arts in human culture and cognitive development.

“Both music and arts classes are supposed to be applied throughout all Dutch primary schools by the year 2020,” says Dr Jaschke. “But considering our results, we hope that this study will support political developments to reintegrate music and arts education into schools around the world.”

Wait a minute. This study does tick a lot of boxes:

  • large scale
  • longitudinal
  • A randomized setup with a control group
  • They checked really a lot of stuff (IQ, problem solving, etc…)

The only thing one could say is that the group of respondents is relatively small.

So maybe, they are really on to something… I do hope for a positive replication and if that’s the case: let’s turn up the music!

Oh, and I really like their final conclusion:

Executive functions are usually researched as lump sum cognitive functions and structured investigation of sub-functions in longitudinal designs are still rare. The here presented results show a possible far transfer effect from a structured music education program to academic achievement, mediated through executive sub-functions. Nevertheless, analyzing the longitudinal effects of music education embedded into the regular school curriculum, throughout different cultural settings, will further strengthen our understanding of the effects music can have on the developing brain.

In the end, it is not the justification of music or arts education in light of far transfer to academic achievement that is the objective. It is the necessity of combining music, visual and general arts toward a mixed-art education model. This will emphasize the importance of the arts in human culture, and enduringly support the positive influence of the arts on cognitive development.

Abstract of the study:

Background: Research on the effects of music education on cognitive abilities has generated increasing interest across the scientific community. Nonetheless, longitudinal studies investigating the effects of structured music education on cognitive sub-functions are still rare. Prime candidates for investigating a relationship between academic achievement and music education appear to be executive functions such as planning, working memory, and inhibition.

Methods: One hundred and forty-seven primary school children, Mage = 6.4 years, SD = 0.65 were followed for 2.5 years. Participants were randomized into four groups: two music intervention groups, one active visual arts group, and a no arts control group. Neuropsychological tests assessed verbal intelligence and executive functions. Additionally, a national pupil monitor provided data on academic performance.

Results: Children in the visual arts group perform better on visuospatial memory tasks as compared to the three other conditions. However, the test scores on inhibition, planning and verbal intelligence increased significantly in the two music groups over time as compared to the visual art and no arts controls. Mediation analysis with executive functions and verbal IQ as mediator for academic performance have shown a possible far transfer effect from executive sub-function to academic performance scores.

Discussion: The present results indicate a positive influence of long-term music education on cognitive abilities such as inhibition and planning. Of note, following a two-and-a-half year long visual arts program significantly improves scores on a visuospatial memory task. All results combined, this study supports a far transfer effect from music education to academic achievement mediated by executive sub-functions.

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