A new study finds that the risk of mental decline through age is less in people who play musical instruments.
Researchers at St Andrews University found that musicians have sharper minds and they are able to pick up and rectify mistakes quicker than their non-musician counterparts, News.com.au reported.
For the research, led by psychologist Ines Jentzsch, scientists compared the behavioural and brain responses of amateur musicians with non-musicians when performing simple mental tasks.
The results showed that playing a musical instrument, even at moderate levels, improves a person's ability to detect errors and adjust responses more successfully.
Jentzsch said that the study shows that even moderate levels of musical activity can benefit brain functioning.
She asserted that the findings could have important implications as the processes involved are amongst the first to be affected by ageing, as well as a number of mental illnesses such as depression.
She added that the research suggests that musical activity could be used as an effective intervention to slow, stop or even reverse age or illness-related decline in mental functioning.
The study was published in the journal Neuropsychologia.