Relationships Among Music Listening, Temperament, and Cognitive Abilities of Four-Year-Old Children

Document Type


Publication Date


Originally Published In

Visions of Research in Music Education

Volume Number



The purpose of the study was twofold: (a) to investigate electrophysiological (EEG) responses in children while listening to two contrasting styles of music, and (b) to investigate the relationship between listening to recorded music and the cognitive abilities of four-year-old children. EEG data were collected on a baseline condition of eyes open. These data were then compared to EEG data produced when children listened to selections of music by Bach, while they listened to selections of rock music, and while they performed a standardized cognitive test of visual closure. Behavioral data were also collected on sex, age, home environment, and temperament. Results indicated children’s EEG data were not significantly different for the two styles of music, a finding which suggests that young children may be more accepting of different musical styles. However, children scoring high on the visual closure test could be predicted by Beta band electrical brain activity at site F3 (F3 is in the left hemisphere associated with reward, attention, long-term memory, planning, and drive) and by Alpha band electrical brain activity at site O2 (O2 is in right hemisphere occipital lobe associated with visual processing). Discriminant analysis indicated that electrical brain activity at those two sites correctly classified 90% of the cases of children scoring high on the visual closure test. Neither sex nor the home environment measure yielded significant differences. Children scoring high on the visual closure test were shown by a temperament measure to be more outgoing in new situations than low scoring children. Their temperament probably interacted with music and social climate of the classroom.

This document is currently not available here.