Relationships between extracurricular activities and development of cognitive abilities in Estonian primary school children
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Playing a musical instrument has been shown to be positively correlated with several cognitive abilities. In most of such research, authors have declared the need for conducting longitudinal research to better understand the mechanisms of the discovered correlations. The aim of this longitudinal natural experiment was to find out whether music training would accelerate the development of primary school children’s working memory and intelligence relative to other types of extracurricular activities. The results showed that music training may indeed facilitate the development of children’s general intelligence, but none of the hobby types studied here are related to the developmental speed of verbal or visual working memory. However, these results should be interpreted with caution due to several limits of the current data set which are discussed in detail. Future research should address this question with larger sample sizes and more elaborate materials and design.