Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 2, pp 521–530 | Cite as

Effects of stimulus intensity and auditory white noise on human somatosensory cognitive processing: a study using event-related potentials

  • Haruka Mizukami
  • Ryusuke Kakigi
  • Hiroki NakataEmail author
Research Article


Exposure to auditory white noise has been shown to facilitate cognitive function. This phenomenon is often called stochastic resonance, and a moderate amount of auditory noise has been suggested to benefit individuals in hypodopaminergic states. Previous studies using psychophysic methods reported that stochastic resonance was sensitive to stimulus intensity; however, the relationship between neural activities elicited by different stimulus intensities and auditory white noise has not yet been clarified Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of stimulus intensity (Experiment 1) and auditory white noise (Experiment 2) on behavioral data (reaction time (RT), the standard deviation of RT, and error rates), and the N140 and P300 components of event-related potentials (ERPs) in somatosensory Go/No-go paradigms. The subjects had to respond to the somatosensory stimuli by pressing a button with their right thumb only after presentation of the Go stimulus. In Experiment 1 with four different stimulus intensity levels, the peak latencies of N140 and P300 became shorter, and the peak amplitudes of N140 and P300 were enhanced with increases in stimulus intensity. In Experiment 2 with weak and mild intensities under auditory white noise and control conditions, the amplitudes of Go-P300 and No-go-P300 were enhanced by white noise, irrespective of weak and mild intensities, during Go/No-go paradigms. Auditory white noise did not significantly affect the amplitude of N140 or the latencies of N140 and P300. These results suggest the presence of a characteristic cross-modal stochastic resonance in neural substrates utilizing somatosensory ERPs.


ERP Go/No-go Stochastic resonance P300 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haruka Mizukami
    • 1
  • Ryusuke Kakigi
    • 2
  • Hiroki Nakata
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Human Life and EnvironmentNara Women’s UniversityNaraJapan
  2. 2.Department of Integrative PhysiologyNational Institute for Physiological SciencesOkazakiJapan

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