Reduced visual processing capacity in sleep deprived persons

Danyang Kong, Chun Siong Soon, Michael W.L. Chee
2011 NeuroImage  
Multiple experiments have found sleep deprivation to lower task-related parietal and extrastriate visual activation, suggesting a reduction of visual processing capacity in this state. The perceptual load theory of attention (Lavie, 1995) predicts that our capacity to process unattended distractors will be reduced by increasing perceptual difficulty of task-relevant stimuli. Here, we evaluated the effects of sleep deprivation and perceptual load on visual processing capacity by measuring neural
more » ... by measuring neural repetition-suppression to unattended scenes while healthy volunteers attended to faces embedded in face-scene pictures. Perceptual load did not affect repetition suppression after a normal night of sleep. Sleep deprivation reduced repetition suppression in the parahippocampal place area (PPA) in the high but not low perceptual load condition. Additionally, the extent to which task-related fusiform face area (FFA) activation was reduced after sleep deprivation correlated with behavioral performance and lowered repetition suppression in the PPA. The findings concerning correct responses indicate that a portion of stimulus related activation following a normal night of sleep contributes to potentially useful visual processing capacity that is attenuated following sleep deprivation. Finally, when unattended stimuli are not highly intrusive, sleep deprivation does not appear to increase distractibility.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.12.057 pmid:21195190 fatcat:mh2mysomkbg4jgx6gzd5f4xvfa