Sleeplessness Will Wreak Havoc On Your Memory
A new study shows that when you pull an all-nighter or deprive yourself of sleep, you also put yourself at risk of developing false or inaccurate memories.
What's the Latest?
A new study published in Psychological Science reveals just how dire the consequences of sleep deprivation can be. It turns out that when you pull an all-nighter, it's not just your sleep schedule getting wrecked; it's your memory as well. Researchers at UC Irvine found that subjects who had not slept the night before a test exhibited signs of false or altered memories when asked to describe a previously-seen photograph. Sleep-deprived brains distort memories by incorporating false and/or assumed information during recall. What results is a recollection in which memory gaps are filled by misinformation or preconceived notions.
What's the Big Idea?
These findings have far-reaching implications. First, it solidifies the case that sleep deprivation is dangerously unhealthy (and that the 50-70 million Americans who suffer from it should seek help). Second, it gives credence to the argument that staying up all night to study for a test can actually be to a student's detriment. Finally -- and most important to the folks behind the study -- that witnesses who testify after long, restless interrogations could potentially have their claims thrown out under the condition that their memories had become impaired due to lack of sleep.
Take a look at the Scientific American article linked below to learn about the tests researchers administered and how memory recall is much more like running a computer diagnostics test than listening to a fixed recording.
And if you're reading this on a tablet in your bed at 3 a.m., please do yourself a favor and call it a night.
Read more at Scientific American
Photo credit: Cecilia Lim H M / Shutterstock
A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.
- How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
- To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
- The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.