Low arousal theory
The low arousal theory is a psychological theory explaining that people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and antisocial personality disorder seek self-stimulation by excessive activity in order to transcend their state of abnormally low arousal. This low arousal results in the inability or difficulty to sustain attention on any task of waning stimulation or novelty, as well as explaining compulsive hyperactive behavior.
A person with low arousal reacts less to stimuli than one without. This individual, according to Hare (1970) is "in a chronic state of 'stimulus-hunger'". To further explain, Mawson and Mawson (1977) claim that he or she needs more "sensory inputs" to feel normal.
Other evidence and corollaries
Noise and performance
ADHD is related to an incorrectly functioning dopamine system. In a study, the best performance was exhibited when stimuli caused a certain amount of psychological arousal. When using sound to help brain function, also known as stochastic resonance, it was found that significantly more noise is required to improve the performance of those with ADHD, since they have less dopamine (hypodopaminergia).
- "Sleep in Mental and Behavioural Disorders". Nina Lindberg (Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Physiology, University of Helsinki. 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- Sikström, S.; Söderlund, G. (Oct 2007). "Stimulus-dependent dopamine release in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.". Psychol Rev 114 (4): 1047–75. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.114.4.1047. PMID 17907872.
- RD Hare. John Wiley & Sons: "Psychopathy: theory and research" (1970).
- AR Mawson & CD Mawson. Biol Psychiatry: "Psychopathy and arousal: a new interpretation of the psychophysiological literature" (1977).
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