The Effect of Acute Sleep Deprivation on Visual Evoked Potentials in Professional Drivers

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Jackson, Melinda L, Croft, Rodney J, Owens, Katherine, Pierce, Robert J, Kennedy, Gerard, Crewther, David and Howard, Mark E (2008) The Effect of Acute Sleep Deprivation on Visual Evoked Potentials in Professional Drivers. Sleep, 31 (9). pp. 1261-1269. ISSN 0161-8105


Previous studies have demonstrated that as little as 18 hours of sleep deprivation can cause deleterious effects on performance. It has also been suggested that sleep deprivation can cause a “tunnel-vision” effect, in which attention is restricted to the center of the visual field. The current study aimed to replicate these behavioral effects and to examine the electrophysiological underpinnings of these changes.A tunnel-vision task (central versus peripheral visual discrimination) and a standard checkerboard-viewing task were performed while 32-channel EEG was recorded. For the tunnel-vision task, sleep deprivation resulted in an overall slowing of reaction times and increased errors of omission for both peripheral and foveal stimuli (P < 0.05). These changes were related to reduced P300 amplitude (indexing cognitive processing) but not measures of early visual processing. No evidence was found for an interaction effect between sleep deprivation and visual-field position, either in terms of behavior or electrophysiological responses. Slower processing of the sustained parvocellular visual pathway was demonstrated. These findings suggest that performance deficits on visual tasks during sleep deprivation are due to higher cognitive processes rather than early visual processing. Sleep deprivation may differentially impair processing of more-detailed visual information. Features of the study design (eg, visual angle, duration of sleep deprivation) may influence whether peripheral visual-field neglect occurs.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 380000 Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > SEO Classification > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Keywords ResPubID16404, sleep deprivation, event-related potentials, visual field, driving, circadian effects
Citations in Scopus 25 - View on Scopus
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