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Noise Induced Improvement of Cognitive Performance in Subjects with Low Dopamine
Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)
The aim of this project is to investigate whether environmental factors such auditive noise improves attention and cognitive performance in children with disturbance in the dopamine system (e.g., ADHD, low achieving children). The project relies on a theoretical framework (Sikström & Söderlund, under revision) suggesting that children with low dopamine levels benefit in cognitive performance from a moderate amount of noise. This noise induced benefit is achieved though the statistical phenomena of stochastic resonance and is modulated by dopamine levels. In earlier studies we have indeed found preliminary evidence of such noise-induced improvement in performance for ADHD and low achieving children whereas control and high achieving children deteriorate in cognitive performance during the same conditions. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration of the benefits of noise on higher cognitive functioning in children that is based on a neurocelleular theory. The purpose of this project is to further develop models for the relation between dopamine and environmental factors in children and to validate these predictions with empirical data. Examples of experimental interventions in the project are: auditive white noise, music stimulation, inter-stimulus intervals, and working load levels. The project will use a multi-disciplinary approach consisting of neurocomputational modelling, behavioural studies, fMRI, and EEG to assess potential neural correlates.
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