Moral development, executive functioning, peak experiences and brain patterns in professional and amateur classical musicians: Interpreted in light of a Unified Theory of Performance

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1256-1264 (2011)
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Abstract

This study compared professional and amateur classical musicians matched for age, gender, and education on reaction times during the Stroop color-word test, brainwaves during an auditory ERP task and during paired reaction-time tasks, responses on the Gibbs Sociomoral Reflection questionnaire, and self-reported frequencies of peak experiences. Professional musicians were characterized by: lower color-word interference effects , faster categorization of rare expected stimuli , and a trend for faster processing of rare unexpected stimuli , higher scores on the Sociomoral Reflection questionnaire, and more frequent peak experiences during rest, tasks, and sleep. Both groups had high values on the Brain Integration Scale. These findings are interpreted in light of a Unified Theory of Performance, which posits that effectiveness in any area is influenced by one’s level of mind-brain development—emotional, cognitive, moral, ego and cortical development—with higher mind-brain development supporting greater effectiveness in any domain

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