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Listen to the Noise:: Noise is Beneficial for Cognitive Performance in ADHD
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2007 (English)In: The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, ISSN 0021-9630 (Print), Vol. 48, no 8, 840-847 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Noise is typically conceived of as being detrimental for cognitive performance. However, given the mechanism of stochastic resonance, a certain amount of noise can benefit performance. We investigate cognitive performance in noisy environments in relation to a neuro-computational model of ADHD and dopamine. The Moderate Brain Arousal model (MBA) (Sikström & Söderlund, under revision) suggests that dopamine levels modulate how much noise is required for optimal cognitive performance. We experimentally examine how ADHD and control children respond to different encoding conditions, providing different levels of environmental stimulation. Methods: Participants performed Self-Performed mini tasks (SPT), as a high memory performance task, and a verbal task (VT), as a low memory task. These tasks were performed in presence, or in absence, of auditory white noise. Results: Noise exerted a positive effect on cognitive performance for the ADHD group and deteriorated performance for the control group, indicating that ADHD need more noise than control for optimal cognitive performance. Conclusions: The positive effect of white noise is explained by the phenomenon of stochastic resonance (SR), i.e., the phenomenon that moderate noise facilitates cognitive performance. The MBA model suggests that noise in the environment, through the perceptual system introduces internal noise in the neural system. This noise induces SR in the neurotransmitter systems and makes this noise beneficial for cognitive performance. In particular, the peak of the SR curve depends on the dopamine level, so that participants with low dopamine levels (ADHD) requires more noise for optimal cognitive performance compared to controls.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 48, no 8, 840-847 p.
Keyword [en]
ADHD, stochastic resonance, dopamine, episodic memory, SPT, noise
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-12067OAI: diva2:178587
Available from: 2008-01-15 Created: 2008-01-15 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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