Via @JelleJolles ontdekte ik de recente studie “Sleep Deprivation and False Memories” waarin onderzoekers van de Michigan State University en de University of California, Irvine aantonen dat langdurig slaapgebrek nefast kan zijn voor je geheugen. Proefpersonen die 24 uur wakker bleven – en zelfs de proefpersonen die 5u of minder nachtrust kregen – bleken er vaker een boeltje van te maken bij het herinneren van de details van een fictieve gebeurtenis dan proefpersonen die wel goed uitgerust waren.
The study, published online in the journalPsychological Science, found participants deprived of a night’s sleep were more likely to flub the details of a simulated burglary they were shown in a series of images.
Distorted memory can have serious consequences in areas such as criminal justice, where eyewitness misidentifications are thought to be the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States.
“We found memory distortion is greater after sleep deprivation,” said Kimberly Fenn, MSU associate professor of psychology and co-investigator on the study. “And people are getting less sleep each night than they ever have.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep an epidemic and said it’s linked to vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
The researchers conducted experiments at MSU and UC-Irvine to gauge the effect of insufficient sleep on memory. The results: Participants who were kept awake for 24 hours — and even those who got five or fewer hours of sleep — were more likely to mix up event details than participants who were well rested.
“People who repeatedly get low amounts of sleep every night could be more prone in the long run to develop these forms of memory distortion,” Fenn said. “It’s not just a full night of sleep deprivation that puts them at risk.”
Abstract van het onderzoek:
Many studies have investigated factors that affect susceptibility to false memories. However, few have investigated the role of sleep deprivation in the formation of false memories, despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and false memories and the effect of 24 hr of total sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories. We found that under certain conditions, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing false memories. Specifically, sleep deprivation increased false memories in a misinformation task when participants were sleep deprived during event encoding, but did not have a significant effect when the deprivation occurred after event encoding. These experiments are the first to investigate the effect of sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories, which can have dire consequences.
S. J. Frenda, L. Patihis, E. F. Loftus, H. C. Lewis, K. M. Fenn. Sleep Deprivation and False Memories. Psychological Science, 2014; DOI:10.1177/0956797614534694