Low intensity white noise improves performance in auditory working memory task: An fMRI study

Elza Othman, Ahmad Nazlim Yusoff, Mazlyfarina Mohamad, Hanani Abdul Manan, Vincent Giampietro, Aini Ismafairus Abd Hamid, Mariam Adawiah Dzulkifli, Syazarina Sharis Osman, Wan Ilma Dewiputri Wan Burhanuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Research suggests that white noise may facilitate auditory working memory performance via stochastic resonance. Stochastic resonance is quantified by plotting cognitive performance as a function of noise intensity. The plot would appear as an inverted U-curve, that is, a moderate noise is beneficial for performance whereas too low and too much noise attenuates performance. However, knowledge about the optimal signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) needed for stochastic resonance to occur in the brain, particularly in the neural network of auditory working memory, is limited and demand further investigation. In the present study, we extended previous works on the impact of white noise on auditory working memory performance by including multiple background noise levels to map out the inverted U-curve for the stochastic resonance. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), twenty healthy young adults performed a word-based backward recall span task under four signal-to-noise ratio conditions: 15, 10, 5, and 0-dB SNR. Group results show significant behavioral improvement and increased activation in frontal cortices, primary auditory cortices, and anterior cingulate cortex in all noise conditions, except at 0-dB SNR, which decreases activation and performance. When plotted as a function of signal-to-noise ratio, behavioral and fMRI data exhibited a noise-benefit inverted U-shaped curve. Additionally, a significant positive correlation was found between the activity of the right superior frontal gyrus (SFG) and performance in 5-dB SNR. The predicted phenomenon of SR on auditory working memory performance is confirmed. Findings from this study suggest that the optimal signal-to-noise ratio to enhance auditory working memory performance is within 10 to 5-dB SNR and that the right SFG may be a strategic structure involved in enhancement of auditory working memory performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02444
JournalHeliyon
Volume5
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Signal-To-Noise Ratio
Short-Term Memory
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Noise
Prefrontal Cortex
Auditory Cortex
Gyrus Cinguli
Frontal Lobe
Young Adult
Brain
Research

Keywords

  • Auditory working memory
  • Education
  • Intensity
  • MRI
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Stochastic resonance
  • White noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Othman, E., Yusoff, A. N., Mohamad, M., Abdul Manan, H., Giampietro, V., Abd Hamid, A. I., ... Wan Burhanuddin, W. I. D. (2019). Low intensity white noise improves performance in auditory working memory task: An fMRI study. Heliyon, 5(9), [e02444]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02444

Low intensity white noise improves performance in auditory working memory task : An fMRI study. / Othman, Elza; Yusoff, Ahmad Nazlim; Mohamad, Mazlyfarina; Abdul Manan, Hanani; Giampietro, Vincent; Abd Hamid, Aini Ismafairus; Dzulkifli, Mariam Adawiah; Osman, Syazarina Sharis; Wan Burhanuddin, Wan Ilma Dewiputri.

In: Heliyon, Vol. 5, No. 9, e02444, 01.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Othman, E, Yusoff, AN, Mohamad, M, Abdul Manan, H, Giampietro, V, Abd Hamid, AI, Dzulkifli, MA, Osman, SS & Wan Burhanuddin, WID 2019, 'Low intensity white noise improves performance in auditory working memory task: An fMRI study', Heliyon, vol. 5, no. 9, e02444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02444
Othman, Elza ; Yusoff, Ahmad Nazlim ; Mohamad, Mazlyfarina ; Abdul Manan, Hanani ; Giampietro, Vincent ; Abd Hamid, Aini Ismafairus ; Dzulkifli, Mariam Adawiah ; Osman, Syazarina Sharis ; Wan Burhanuddin, Wan Ilma Dewiputri. / Low intensity white noise improves performance in auditory working memory task : An fMRI study. In: Heliyon. 2019 ; Vol. 5, No. 9.
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