Music training enhances audio-visual integration

Audio-visual integration is the integration of things we hear with the things we see. Why would this be important? Well, have you ever watched a video where the sound and picture are out of sync? Imagine that happening inside your own brain. Concentrating would be hard, let alone learning anything if most of the world was out of sync.

This study was to determine whether the modulation of visual perception through audio-visual integration would be further augmented by musical training. Would learning to play a musical instrument enhance integrating what we see with what we hear and vice versa. They found that the level of audio-visual integration was positively correlated with the amount of music training – meaning that the more music training you did, the better the audio-visual integration. In addition, they found that when they added in an extra layer of distraction, the musicians got even better at the audio-visual integration.

The musicians were college students who did a number of tests to determine their level of music training and ability. This included the areas of active (music) engagement, perceptual abilities, musical training, emotions, and singing abilities. This type of study can point to a musician advantage that expresses itself in music learning and audio-visual integration, but using the amount of music training as a variable also points to the possibility that music training also enhanced this important cognitive capacity.

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