Flickering screens can help kids with reading and writing difficulties, study finds – ScienceDaily


Previous studies have shown that children with ADHD and / or ADHD cope better with cognitive tasks when exposed to auditory white noise. However, it is the first time that such a link has been demonstrated between visual white noise and cognitive abilities such as memory, reading and decoding of non-words in children with reading and writing difficulties. .

“The white noise that we have exposed children to, also known as visual pixel noise, can be compared to giving children glasses. The effect on reading and memory was immediate, ”says Göran Söderlund, lecturer in education at Gothenburg University and professor of special education at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Norway.

Tested at 11 years

The study was carried out on around 80 students from the Småland region in southern Sweden. The children who participated were selected following a word recognition test and were divided into three groups: good readers, children with some reading difficulties and children with major reading difficulties (i.e. – say having phonological disorders).

In the study, children were asked to read 12 words while being exposed to four different levels of visual white noise, from zero to high. The test consisted of assessing how many words the children could read correctly and how many words they were able to remember afterwards.

White noise improves reading skills and memory

The results showed that the group with major reading difficulties, especially phonological difficulties, performed better when exposed to visual pixel noise. They read more words correctly and also recalled more words in moderate noise conditions. White noise had no or negative effects on good readers and those with only minor reading problems.

“This is the first evidence that visual white noise has higher-level effects on cognition, in this case both reading and memory,” says Göran Söderlund.

The right amount of white noise touch

Children were exposed to different levels of white noise, with results showing that the amount of noise is critical for reading and memory.

“You can compare that to being myopic and needing glasses. We saw that when we exposed children to an average level of white noise, their reading improved. However, their reading skills were worse when there was no noise or noise, ”adds Göran.

“These results show that children with reading and writing difficulties can be helped with an incredibly simple intervention. By adjusting screens at school or at home, we hope that they can solve their problems all at once. this is the first study of its kind, and replications are needed. “

More research is needed

Göran Söderlund now wishes to further study the effects of white noise. He hopes new studies can answer the question of whether practicing with white noise for an extended period of time can lead to lasting improvements.

“It’s worth exploring because we just don’t know. This first study is ours. But our results show that the kids improved immediately, so it’s important to continue with new studies to establish whether this simple measure, which anyone can do on their own laptops, will provide lasting help to these kids. “

The study “Sensory white noise improves reading skills and memory recall in children with reading disabilities” was published in the scientific journal Brain and behavior. The study was conducted by Göran Söderlund, Jakob Åsberg Johnels (Gillberg Center for Neuropsychiatry, University of Gothenburg) and Andreas Magnusson, as well as Bodil Rothén, Ellen Torstensson-Hultberg and Linda Fälth (University of Linnaeus).

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Materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.


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