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Study Suggests Playing Instruments Boosts Reaction Time

Musical Instrument.maxpixel/maxpixel

People play instruments for a lot of reasons, but apart from impressing the opposite sex, making a living, or just expressing their artistic talents, aspiring musicians can now add enhanced reaction time to that list. According to a new study, playing musical instruments might just boost reaction time. The longer the habit is maintained, the longer the effects last.

The study was done by researchers at the School of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology of Université de Montréal, MedicalXpress reports. In a paper published in the Brain and Cognition journal, the researchers found that musicians tended to have much better reaction times than those who don’t play any instrument when subjected to stimulation.

According to Simon Landry, the study’s lead researcher, the results of the study are important because they have significant implications with regards to preventing degenerative effects of aging. After all, as humans get older, reaction time also decays regardless of condition at their prime. Delaying the inevitable is all that researchers can hope for at this point, and this study helps with that.

"The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times," Landry said. "As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower. So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them."

In the paper published, the researchers argue that past experiments pertaining to the effects of playing instruments, the findings were too narrow. What the researchers wanted to prove is that playing instruments had a long-term, practical effect, which they appear to have successfully done.

“In the present study, we aim at testing whether long-term musical training might also enhance other multisensory processes at a behavioral level,” the paper’s Abstract reads.

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