Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 353–365 | Cite as

Negative air ionization improves memory and attention in learning-disabled and mentally retarded children

  • L. L. Morton
  • John R. Kershner


The effect of increased concentrations of ambient negative air ions on incidental visual memory for words and purposive auditory memory for dichotic digits was investigated in 20 normal grade 4 children, 8 learning-disabled children, and 8 mildly mentally retarded children. Half in each group were assigned randomly to an unmodified air-placebo condition under double-blind testing procedures. All of the children breathing negatively ionized air were superior in incidental memory. In dichotic listening, the negative ions produced a counter-priming effect in the two learning-impaired groups, offsetting the difficulties that they showed under placebo in switching attention selectively from one ear to the other. The action of negative ions on the neurotransmitter, serotonin, may be the mechanism by which negative ions produce such behavioral effects. In view of the important environmental and remedial implications of these novel findings, interpretations should be made cautiously pending larger scale replications.


Placebo Serotonin Testing Procedure Behavioral Effect Visual Memory 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. L. Morton
    • 1
  • John R. Kershner
    • 2
  1. 1.The Northumberland and Newcastle Board of EducationUSA
  2. 2.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUSA

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