white noise to ADHD students improved sentence memory recall in classrooms.
The researchers noted: "Why these paradoxical effects should occur is not well understood."
Well, we think one possible explanation is that the students diagnosed with ADHD were more susceptible to auditory distractions - so the white noise blotted out oddball or occasional distracting sounds, causing a net result of better memory performance with sentence recall. But for the non-inattentive kids, the white noise served only as a distraction - so the net result was poorer performance.
Another potential confounder in this study is the likelihood of what the researchers were diagnosing was dyslexia with inattentive features, rather than ADHD alone. As the researchers describe in the full report, the inattentive group had lower reading scores and an inverse relationship was noted between reading performance and positive response to white noise. The presence of hyperactivity had no correlation with the benefit or detriment of white noise.
In previous research it has been shown that dyslexic individuals are as a group more sensitive to auditory distractions - that is why the diagnosis of dyslexia is one indication for small group or individual testing on standardized tests.
Wide and diffuse perceptual modes characterize dyslexics in vision and audition
*** BTW, for Seattle readers, Brock and I will be speaking and the SPD Foundations' International Symposium in Seattle this Friday. We'll be speaking about common learning consequences of sensory processing disorders on the pre-conference day. Look forward to seeing some of you there!