A dose-response investigation of the attentional blink during sleep restriction /
Smith, Brian Arthur.
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Recent dose-response sleep restriction studies, in which nightly sleep is curtailed to varying degrees (e.g., 3-, 5-, 7-hours), have found cumulative, dose-dependent changes in sleepiness, mood, and reaction time. However, brain activity has typically not been measured, and attentionbased tests employed tend to be simple (e.g., reaction time). One task addressing the behavioural and electrophysiological aspects of a specific attention mechanism is the Attentional Blink (AB), which shows that the report accuracy of a second target (T2) is impaired when it is presented soon after a first target (Tl). The aim of the present study was to examine behavioural and electrophysioiogical responses to the AB task to elucidate how sleep restriction impacts attentional capacity. Thirty-six young-adults spent four consecutive days and nights in a sleep laboratory where sleep, food, and activity were controlled. Nightly sleep began with a baseline sleep (8 hours), followed by two nights of sleep restriction (3,5 or 8 hours of sleep), and a recovery sleep (8 hours). An AB task was administered each day at 11 am. Results from a basic battery oftests (e.g., sleepiness, mood, reaction time) confirmed the effectiveness of the sleep restriction manipulation. In terms of the AB, baseline performance was typical (Le., T2 accuracy impaired when presented soon after Tl); however, no changes in any AB behavioural measures were observed following sleep restriction for the 3- or 5-hour groups. The only statistically significant electrophysiological result was a decrease in P300 amplitude (for Tl) from baseline to the second sleep restriction night for the 3-hour group. Therefore, following a brief, two night sleep restriction paradigm, brain functioning was impaired for the TI of the AB in the absence of behavioural deficit. Study limitations and future directions are discussed.