Typically, the ideal environment for learning is often envisioned as one that is noiseless and distraction-free. However, researchers from the University of Queensland are suggesting that some noise is necessary to boost learning ability.
According to researchers, white noise — background noises at the same volume, but different frequencies, for instance, the sound of a passing jetliner or the ocean — can enhance learning performance.
To demonstrate, scientists conducted experiments where participants were taught new words with some participants learning the new words against a backdrop of white noise and other participants learning the new words in complete silence.
Researchers reported that those participants learning new words against a white noise backdrop could better recall those words than the participants who learned the words in a completely silent environment.
However, while it seems that white noise can help improve participant focus, researchers caution that continued research is necessary to determine how white noise can improve cognitive performance.
Anthony Angwin, one of the authors of the study, said, “Once we develop a better understanding of the effects of white noise on healthy adults, we would like to apply this knowledge to do further studies with people with learning or language difficulties to see if white noise improves their learning performance.”
The study is published in Scientific Reports.