Environmental noise-exposed workers: Event-related potentials, neuropsychological and mood assessment

Paola Chiovenda, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Filippo Zappasodi, Matilde Ercolani, Daniele Milazzo, Gianfranco Tomei, Assuntina Capozzella, Francesco Tomei, Paolo M. Rossini, Franca Tecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prolonged environmental noise exposure can induce pathogenic effects on various physical and psychosocial responses. The first aim of this study was to investigate whether long-term occupational noise exposure could affect neurophysiological, neuropsychological and emotional statuses, with particular respect to attention and working memory. The second aim was to evaluate the effects on the tactile P300 of a specific stressor (background traffic noise) vs a non-specific stress inductor (Stroop test). The comparison between a group of noise-exposed workers (traffic police officers), and a control group (office employees) did not show marked differences in cognitive and emotional profiles. The amplitude of the baseline cognitive potential (P300), recorded during a tactile (electric) discrimination task, resulted higher in noise-exposed workers than in controls, and this enhancement was associated with a lower level of trait anxiety and better mood profiles. Moreover, we found a wider P300 amplitude reduction in traffic police officers than in controls, under noisy conditions due to traffic. The effect of the Stroop test as a stress inductor was negligible and similar in the two groups. The wider amplitude of the non-auditory P300 in traffic police officers in the baseline condition could be a sign of cross-modal cerebral plasticity enhancing attentive processes in the 'stress-free' sensory channel. In addition, noise-exposed workers presented a higher cerebral sensitivity to stress selectively when they were exposed to the habitual environmental stressor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Profile of mood states (POMS)
  • State-trait anxiety inventory (STAI-Y)
  • Stroop test
  • Tactile oddball (P300)
  • Traffic noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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