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White Noise Offers Help to Inattentive Children

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NORWAY) -- Inattentive children may get some help learning material in class if white noise is playing.  According to EurekAlert!, researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions tested the noise's effect on 51 school children at a secondary school in Norway.  They found it improved the memory of children who had a difficult time paying attention.

Göran Söderlund from Stockholm University in Sweden, worked with the team of researchers and said, "There was significant improvement in performance for the children rated as inattentive by their teachers, and a significant decline in performance for those rated as attentive as noise levels were increased. This finding could have practical applications offering non-invasive and non-pharmacological help to improve school results in children with attentional problems."

The children in the study were asked to remember as many items as possible from a list that was read out loud, both in the presence and absence of white noise.  Researchers believe a phenomenon known as 'stochastic resonance' may explain the improvement in performance by the inattentive children.

According to Söderlund, "When a weak signal is presented below the hearing threshold it becomes detectable when random or white noise is added to the signal. Our study is the first to link noise and stochastic resonance to both higher cognitive functions and attention".

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