Impaired decision making following 49 h of sleep deprivation

Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.
Journal of Sleep Research (Impact Factor: 3.35). 04/2006; 15(1):7-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2006.00487.x
Source: PubMed


Sleep deprivation reduces regional cerebral metabolism within the prefrontal cortex, the brain region most responsible for higher-order cognitive processes, including judgment and decision making. Accordingly, we hypothesized that two nights of sleep loss would impair decision making quality and lead to increased risk-taking behavior on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), which mimics real-world decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Thirty-four healthy participants completed the IGT at rested baseline and again following 49.5 h of sleep deprivation. At baseline, volunteers performed in a manner similar to that seen in most samples of healthy normal individuals, rapidly learning to avoid high-risk decks and selecting more frequently from advantageous low-risk decks as the game progressed. After sleep loss, however, volunteers showed a strikingly different pattern of performance. Relative to rested baseline, sleep-deprived individuals tended to choose more frequently from risky decks as the game progressed, a pattern similar to, though less severe than, previously published reports of patients with lesions to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Although risky decision making was not related to participant age when tested at rested baseline, age was negatively correlated with advantageous decision making on the IGT, when tested following sleep deprivation (i.e. older subjects made more risky choices). These findings suggest that cognitive functions known to be mediated by the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, including decision making under conditions of uncertainty, may be particularly vulnerable to sleep loss and that this vulnerability may become more pronounced with increased age.

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    • "It might be possible for a driver to run off the road despite the presence of rumble strips if they ignore an early rumble strip hit and decide to continue driving when highly sleepy. Additionally, sleepiness affects a multitude of cognitive tasks, including decision making and risk acceptance (Killgore et al., 2006) and, thus, if a sleepy driver ignores an earlier rumble strip hit, they could be prone to crashing in another manner other than running off the road. It is plausible to consider hitting a rumble strip as a proxy for a sleep-related close call or near-miss and, as such, the more close calls a driver experiences the greater the likelihood they will have a sleep-related crash (Powell et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Driving while sleepy is associated with increased crash risk. Rumble strips are designed to alert a sleepy or inattentive driver when they deviate outside their driving lane. The current study sought to examine the effects of repeated rumble strip hits on levels of physiological and subjective sleepiness as well as simulated driving performance. In total, 36 regular shift workers drove a high-fidelity moving base simulator on a simulated road with rumble strips installed at the shoulder and centre line after a working a full night shift. The results show that, on average, the first rumble strip occurred after 20 min of driving, with subsequent hits occurring 10 min later, with the last three occurring approximately every 5 min thereafter. Specifically, it was found that the first rumble strip hit reduced physiological sleepiness; however, subsequent hits did not increase alertness. Moreover, the results also demonstrate that increased subjective sleepiness levels, via the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, were associated with a greater probability of hitting a rumble strip. The present results suggest that sleepiness is very resilient to even strongly arousing stimuli, with physiological and subjective sleepiness increasing over the duration of the drive, despite the interference caused by rumble strips.
    Journal of Sleep Research 10/2015; DOI:10.1111/jsr.12359 · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    • "TSD has been shown to alter economic decision making across various tasks. For example, sleep-deprived persons have been reported to show an increase in effort discounting (Libedinsky et al., 2013), a shift in behavior from preventing losses to pursuing gains (Venkatraman et al., 2011), a change in the willingness to take risks on the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART) (Acheson et al., 2007; Killgore, 2007), and poorer performance on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) (Killgore et al., 2006). However, it is unclear whether these alterations result from specific alterations of economic preferences, or from alterations of other cognitive aspects of the decision-making process. "
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    Frontiers in Neuroscience 09/2015; 9(352). DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00352 · 3.66 Impact Factor
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