It’s hard to overstate the importance of “working memory“—the ability to retain information even as you process it. For a new fact to have an impact, you need to be able to hold onto it as you consider how it confirms, contradicts, or modifies your previous beliefs.
If your ability to analyze situations and solve problems suggests your working memory is particularly sharp, you might want to thank your music teacher—or the parent who pushed you to learn an instrument.
A new meta-study concludes musicians tend to have stronger short-term and working-memory skills than their non-musical counterparts. The research, published in the online journal PLoS One, finds they also appear to have a small advantage in terms of long-term memory.