Emotional expressiveness in sleep-deprived healthy adults

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.
Behavioral Sleep Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.34). 01/2011; 9(1):5-14. DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2011.533987
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of sleep deprivation on emotional expression and subjective emotional experience in a highly controlled, laboratory setting. Twenty-three healthy adult participants watched positive (amusing) and negative (sad) film clips before and after they were randomly assigned to a night of sleep deprivation or a normal sleep control condition. The intensity of their facial expressiveness while viewing the films was coded by human judges and compared to their subjective emotional responses. Relative to the control group, sleep-deprived participants demonstrated less expressiveness, especially in response to positive stimuli. Subjective responses were not significantly different between the sleep-deprived and control groups. These preliminary results suggest that sleep deprivation is associated with attenuated emotional expressiveness in healthy adults.

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    • "It is possible that sleep loss directly alters the processing of emotional information, as sleep loss leads to emotional dysfunction with exaggerated responses to negative stimuli (Tempesta et al., 2010) and increased risk-taking behaviour (McKenna et al., 2007). Moreover, similar to findings in individuals with mood disorders, these sleep loss-associated impairments appear in spite of blunted affect (Talbot et al., 2010), impaired recognition of human emotions (Van Der Helm et al., 2010) and decreased emotional expressiveness (Minkel et al., 2011). An increased negative cognitive bias as a result of poor sleep quality is also likely, as emotion processing after sleep loss appears to be disinhibited, with increased sensitivity to emotional stimuli and increased 'moodiness' such as increased irritability, anger and hostility (Durmer and Dinges, 2005; Killgore, 2010; McCoy and Strecker, 2011; Taylor et al., 2013; Tsuchiyama et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Poor sleep quality has been demonstrated to diminish cognitive performance, impair psychosocial functioning and alter the perception of stress. At present, however, there is little understanding of how sleep quality affects emotion processing. The aim of the present study was to determine the extent to which sleep quality, measured through the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, influences affective symptoms as well as the interaction between stress and performance on an emotional memory test and sustained attention task. To that end, 154 undergraduate students (mean age: 21.27 years, standard deviation = 4.03) completed a series of measures, including the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index, the Sustained Attention to Response Task, an emotion picture recognition task and affective symptom questionnaires following either a control or physical stress manipulation, the cold pressor test. As sleep quality and psychosocial functioning differ among chronotypes, we also included chronotype and time of day as variables of interest to ensure that the effects of sleep quality on the emotional and non-emotional tasks were not attributed to these related factors. We found that poor sleep quality is related to greater depressive symptoms, anxiety and mood disturbances. While an overall relationship between global Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index score and emotion and attention measures was not supported, poor sleep quality, as an independent component, was associated with better memory for negative stimuli and a deficit in sustained attention to non-emotional stimuli. Importantly, these effects were not sensitive to stress, chronotype or time of day. Combined, these results suggest that individuals with poor sleep quality show an increase in affective symptomatology as well as a negative cognitive bias with a concomitant decrease in sustained attention to non-emotional stimuli. © 2015 European Sleep Research Society.
    Journal of Sleep Research 04/2015; 24(5). DOI:10.1111/jsr.12302 · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    • "and decrease their capacity to recognize emotions from facial expressions (Minkel et al., 2010). Sleep deprivation also alters pitch and vocal energy of spoken word (McGlinchey et al., 2011), as well as sympathetic responses (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that sleep loss has a detrimental effect on the ability of the individuals to process emotional information. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that this negative effect extends to the ability of experiencing emotions while observing other individuals, i.e. emotional empathy. To test this hypothesis, we assessed emotional empathy in 37 healthy volunteers who were assigned randomly to one of three experimental groups: one group was tested before and after a night of total sleep deprivation (sleep deprivation group), a second group was tested before and after a usual night of sleep spent at home (sleep group) and the third group was tested twice during the same day (day group). Emotional empathy was assessed by using two parallel versions of a computerized test measuring direct (i.e. explicit evaluation of empathic concern) and indirect (i.e. the observer's reported physiological arousal) emotional empathy. The results revealed that the post measurements of both direct and indirect emotional empathy of participants in the sleep deprivation group were significantly lower than those of the sleep and day groups; post measurement scores of participants in the day and sleep groups did not differ significantly for either direct or indirect emotional empathy. These data are consistent with previous studies showing the negative effect of sleep deprivation on the processing of emotional information, and extend these effects to emotional empathy. The findings reported in our study are relevant to healthy individuals with poor sleep habits, as well as clinical populations suffering from sleep disturbances.
    Journal of Sleep Research 08/2014; 23(6). DOI:10.1111/jsr.12192 · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    • "Nonetheless, recent studies cast doubt on the disinhibition theory by showing a dampening of emotional reactions for negative and positive stimuli after sleep deprivation , rather than an exacerbation of affective reactivity. among these studies, Minkel et al. (2010) reported less facial expressiveness, especially in response to positive film clips, in sleep-deprived participants than in rested participants . In line with these results, schwarz et al. (2013) observed a deceleration of volitional facial reactions to emotional clips but no alteration in affective inhibitory control after one night of restricted sleep. "
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    ABSTRACT: How emotions interact with cognitive processes has been a topic of growing interest in the last decades, as well as studies investigating the role of sleep in cognition. We review here evidence showing that sleep and emotions entertain privileged relationships. The literature indicates that exposure to stressful and emotional experiences can induce changes in the post-exposure sleep architecture, whereas emotional disturbances are likely to develop following sleep alterations. In addition, post-training sleep appears particularly beneficial for the consolidation of intrinsically emotional memories, suggesting that emotions modulate the off-line brain activity patterns subtending memory consolidation processes. Conversely, sleep contributes unbinding core memories from their affective blanket and removing the latter, eventually participating to habituation processes and reducing aversive reactions to stressful stimuli. Taken together, these data suggest that sleep plays an important role in the regulation and processing of emotions, which highlight its crucial influence on human's abilities to manage and respond to emotional information.
    Experimental Brain Research 01/2014; 232(5). DOI:10.1007/s00221-014-3832-1 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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