What we learn and when we learn it: the interaction of maturation and experience in music and language
Virginia B Penhune
Department of Psychology, Concordia University
Laboratory for Motor Control and Neural Plasticity
The impact of training or experience is not the same at all points in development. Children who learn to play a musical instrument or speak a second language early in life are often more proficient as adults. In the domain of music, a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests that early training is important for musical skill, however, there has been little evidence directly demonstrating the impact of the age of start. To address this question, work in my laboratory has compared behavior and brain structure in early- (<7) and late-trained ( >7) adult and child musicians, showing differences in behavior and brain structure. More recently, we have compared early- and late-trained musicians with simultaneous and sequential bilinguals, showing differential effects of age-of-start in the arcuate fasciculus. I will discuss these findings in the context of our understanding of the interaction between normative development and specific experience, and describe a model of gene-environment interactions that integrates the contribution of age of start.
Website : www.ilcb.fr