• Examining the relationship between music skills and reading skills

      Arco, Nicole M. (2019-05)
      Word recognition in English has the flexibility to be processed at the lexical level (i.e., whole word) or at the sub-lexical level (e.g., focusing on phonological subunits). With this flexibility, recent research suggests that there are individual differences in reading style that rely more on lexical or sub-lexical processing. However, it is still under investigation as to what contributes to these individual differences or what the differences mean for overall reading procedures. The current study examined musical training as a potential correlate of individual differences in reading style. It is well documented that music, language, and reading share similar cognitive processes, and there is evidence that individuals who have musical training background have better reading outcomes. However, there are still gaps in understanding differences in how musicians process words compared to nonmusicians. In this study, measures of subskills in music and reading were collected, in addition to carrying out tasks that tap into correlates of reading style. Results suggest that while there were no differences in word identification, there was some evidence that musicians have better phonological awareness compared to nonmusicians. Furthermore, results suggest that this enhanced skill could be linked to experience with fine-grain timing required in musical training. Taken together, findings suggest that musical training may indeed be related to improved phonological awareness, but that does not necessarily translate to better word reading, per se.