Attention and working memory mechanisms in persons with ADHD
One intriguing phenomenon regarding interference from auditory noise on perceptual and cognitive functioning is the finding that white noise – under certain noise level conditions – actually is helping the participant to focus on the cognitive task at hand (Sikstöm & Söderlund, 2007). The underlying mechanism is assumed to depend on the fact that persons with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) possess low continuous (tonic) dopamine levels, which may be (counterintuitively) remedied by means of introducing white noise to the brain. The reason is that white noise causes a better signal-to-noise ratio in the brain, and hence, will improve and support a steadfast attentional focus, shielding the brain from irrelevant and distracting sound sources. The current project tests different predictions regarding facilitating/ interfering noise effects on speech understanding and working memory tasks. This is accomplished by manipulating different types of noise and signal distortion that are expected to produce effects different from the original but counterintuitive phenomenon of white noise.