The effects of high-intensity 40 kHz ultrasound on cognitive function

Di Battista, A., Price, A., Malkin, R., Drinkwater, B. W., Kuberka, P., & Jarrold, C. (2022). The effects of high-intensity 40 kHz ultrasound on cognitive function. Applied Acoustics, 200.


In this study we investigate the effects of short-term exposure to high-intensity airborne ultrasound on cognitive function. Test participants (n=40) were asked to perform a go/no-go task (GNG) and continuous performance test (CPT) under baseline (no noise) conditions. The tests were also presented under exposure to high-intensity ultrasonic noise from a custom built ultrasonic array (40 kHz tone, 120 dB SPL re 20 μPa). GNG and CPT test results were analysed using a Bayesian ANOVA statistical model. The results provided clear positive evidence for no effect of ultrasound exposure on performance in each task, whether measured in terms of participants’ ability to select the correct response or their reaction times when responding correctly. Participants were also not better than chance at stating when the ultrasound had been presented. These findings indicate that ultrasound exposure of this intensity and frequency has no detectable effect on cognitive task performance.

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