Case Study Assignment



Activity Assignment #3

A recent report in the Washington Post presents the results of an empirical study that found, among other things, that children who receive musical training perform better at reading. Below is a graph created by the Washington Post titled “The effects of musical training on the decoding skills of German-speaking primary school children.”

AA3 Graph

Look at the relationship between Training and reading performance shown in the above graph.


Activity Assignment 3

First Study

Question 1

A look at the graph shows that there is a positive correlation between music training and the reading performance of German-speaking primary school pupils. These results are so because prior to the training, the decoding skills were 8.5 units, but later increased to 22.69 units after the musical training.


Question 2

The scatterplot below indicates the correlation between musical training and reading performance. In this graph, the musical training is the independent variable is plotted on the X-axis while reading performance (response or dependent variable) is on the Y-axis.

Figure 1. Scatter graph showing the relationship between musical training and reading performance

Question 3

Normally, there are usually other factors not included in a study that affect the association between the research variables. On this note, it cannot be concluded that the musical training solely led to the positive correlation with the reading performance. Therefore, the third variable that could have been responsible for this correlation is the practice. Miendlarzewska and Trost (2014) noted that the duration and intensity of practice modulate how the musical training affects cognitive development. van Bergen, et al. (2018) also stated that among the factors that affect learning include the language skills, instruction and practice. In addition, there could be the temporal precedence of musical training and reading performance, which could in turn influence the conclusion on whether the former variable affected the latter variable and vice versa.

Question 4

The statistical validity of the assertion that relationship exists between the musical training and the decoding skills of the children can be assessed using regression analysis and the Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r). The correlation coefficient is a statistical measure of the degree of association, especially the linear relationship (BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2018). The r will be useful in describing the strength as well as the direction of the association between musical training and reading performance of pupils. Normally, the r values ranges from -1 to +1, where -1 is an indication of a perfect negative relationship, 0 indicated that there is no association while +1 shows a perfect positive correlation.

The regression analysis could also be used to describe the strength of this link between the musical training and reading skills. Typically, this association will be expressed in a simple linear equation form known as the regression equation (BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2018). The linear regression equation will be: Y = a + bX, where Y is the reading performance, b is the slop of the regression line on a scatterplot, and X is the musical training.


Second Study

Question 5

The dependent variable in this study is political conservatism.

Question 6

Predictor variables in this study included the child’s gender, ethnicity, cognitive skills, socioeconomic status, authoritarian parenting attitudes, egalitarian parenting attitudes, and the maternal sensitivity.

Question 8

The beta of 0.16 implies that the authoritarian parenting attitudes at 1 month significantly affected the political ideology because the p value of 0.01 is <P=0.05.

Question 9

The beta value of -0.09 coupled with the p=0.07 > P = 0.05 mean that the socioeconomic status at 54 months was nonsignificant in explaining the political conservatism at age 18.

Question 10

The introduction of the authoritarian parenting attitudes and egalitarian parenting attitudes in the study can be seen as a case of temporal precedence. The authoritarian parenting attitudes are harsh, implying that the child could opt to adopt a political ideology that is totalitarian or even liberal where he dislikes the former style. On the other hand, egalitarian parenting attitudes are utilitarian humanitarian and are likely to yield a person whose political ideology is liberal.

Question 11

In the study to assess the relationship between parental attitudes and political conservatism, one could control for the cognitive skills variable. Dennis, Amodio, and O’Toole (2015) noted that neurocognitive responses to conflicts depended on the parent’s ideology and affected the child’s political conservatism.


BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. (2018). 11. Correlation and regression. Retrieved from British Medical Journal Publishing Group Ltd:

Dennis, T. A., Amodio, D., & O’Toole, L. J. (2015). Associations between parental ideology and neural sensitivity to cognitive conflict in children. Social and Neuroscience, Vol. 10 (2), 206-217 doi: [10.1080/17470919.2014.968290].

Miendlarzewska, E. A., & Trost, W. J. (2014). How musical training affects cognitive development: Rhythm, reward and other modulating variables. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vol. 7 (279), 1-18 doi: [10.3389/fnins.2013.00279].

van Bergen, E., Snowling, M. J., de Zeeuw, E. L., van Beijsterveldt, C. E., Dolan, C. V., & Boomsma, D. I. (2018). Why do children read more? The influence of reading ability on voluntary reading practices. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1-10.

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