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Speed of mental processing in the middle of the nightThis study aimed to determine whether human mental processing actually slows down during the night hours, separately from the previously documented microsleeps, lapses in attention, and general slowing of motor responses. Eighteen healthy young adults were studied during 36 hours of constant wakeful bedrest. Every 2 hours, they performed a logical reasoning task. Items phrased in the negative voice took reliably longer to respond to than items phrased in the positive voice, indicating the need for more mental processing in those items. By subtracting "negative" from "positive" reaction times at each time of day, we were able to plot a circadian rhythm in the time taken for this extra mental processing to be done separately from microsleeps, psychomotor slowing, and inattention. The extra mental processing took longer at night and on the day following sleep loss than it did during the day before the sleep loss, suggesting that human mental processing slows down during the night under sleep deprivation.
Document ID
20040172902
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Monk, T. H. (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pennsylvania, United States)
Carrier, J.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: Sleep
Volume: 20
Issue: 6
ISSN: 0161-8105
Subject Category
Behavioral Sciences
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: AG 06836
CONTRACT_GRANT: MH 01235
CONTRACT_GRANT: AG 13396
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Regulatory Physiology