Intelilgence, Practice, Musical Ability, and Cognitive Complexity

This study addresses the various factors that influence an individual’s level of cognitive complexity in the domain of music. Specifically, the links between intelligence, practice, musical ability, and musical cognitive complexity were assessed. It was hypothesized that higher intelligence, more hours of practice, and greater musical ability would predict greater musical cognitive complexity, and that intelligence, practice, and their interaction would predict greater musical ability. A total of 72 participants completed a questionnaire assessing number of hours practiced, musical experience, and intelligence. Additionally, they completed the repertory grid technique with musical elements in order to assess musical cognitive complexity. There was a significant positive correlation between intelligence and musical ability, a significant positive correlation between musical ability and musical cognitive complexity, and a significant positive correlation between practice and musical ability. Multiple regression results indicate that neither of the hypotheses were supported. Results are discussed in terms of implications that musical training may have for musical cognitive complexity.