Choir singing has been associated with better mood and quality of life (QOL) in healthy older adults, but little is known about its potential cognitive benefits in aging. In a study by researchers and medical institutes in Finland, the aim was to compare the subjective (self-reported) and objective (test-based) cognitive functioning of senior choir singers and matched control subjects, coupled with assessment of mood, QOL, and social functioning.
In the neuropsychological testing, choir singers performed better than controls on the verbal flexibility domain of executive function, but not on other cognitive domains. In questionnaires, high activity choir singers showed better social integration than controls and low activity choir singers. In contrast, low activity choir singers had better general health than controls and high activity choir singers.
The implications of the study were that in healthy older adults, regular choir singing is associated with better verbal flexibility. Longstanding choir activity is linked to better social engagement and more recently commenced choir activity to better general health.