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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 70  |  Page : 166--176

Understanding noise stress-induced cognitive impairment in healthy adults and its implications for schizophrenia


1 Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
2 Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London; NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom
3 Department of Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Bernice Wright
Department of Psychology, P078, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.134917

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Noise stress (NS) is detrimental to many aspects of human health and behavior. Understanding the effect of noise stressors on human cognitive function is a growing area of research and is crucial to helping clinical populations, such as those with schizophrenia, which are particularly sensitive to stressors. A review of electronic databases for studies assessing the effect of acute NS on cognitive functions in healthy adults revealed 31 relevant studies. The review revealed (1) NS exerts a clear negative effect on attention, working memory and episodic recall, and (2) personality characteristics, in particular neuroticism, and sleep influence the impact of noise stressors on performance in interaction with task complexity. Previous findings of consistent impairment in NS-relevant cognitive domains, heightened sensitivity to stressors, elevated neuroticism and sleep disturbances in schizophrenia, taken together with the findings of this review, highlight the need for empirical studies to elucidate whether NS, a common aspect of urban environments, exacerbates cognitive deficits and other symptoms in schizophrenia and related clinical populations.






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