Graduation Date

Fall 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Gregg Gold

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Cindy Moyer

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Francis DeMatteo

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



This study provides evidence to support the transferable benefits of musical training to enhance performance on cognitive tasks involving spatial reasoning abilities. Spatial reasoning is an important skill that is essential for success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievement. Previous research indicates that students involved with musical instrument training score higher on measures of spatial temporal abilities than students with no musical training. We hypothesized that the greatest development of spatial visualization will be found in string instrument musicians when compared to non-string musicians, because of the visualization required due to the design of these instruments. Two studies compared scores on measures of spatial reasoning between string and non-string instrumentalists. Participants were administered the Visualization and Picture Recognition sub-tests of the 2014 revised Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities IV by psychology master’s students who were blind to the experiment’s hypothesis. In addition, participants a self-report survey of musical aptitude that included measures of proficiency for each instrument that they played. The results from these studies do not suggest that string players have stronger spatial reasoning skills when compared to other instrumentalists. However, the results do replicate previous research by demonstrating that individuals that play an instrument perform better on spatial reasoning tasks when compared to non-musicians.

Citation Style