Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Brain Res. 2012 Apr 21;230(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.01.047. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Spatial reversal learning is robust to total sleep deprivation.

Author information

Dept. of Sleep and Cognition, Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences, An Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherland.


Sleep deprivation affects cognitive functions that depend on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) such as cognitive flexibility, and the consolidation of newly learned information. The identification of cognitive processes that are either robustly sensitive or robustly insensitive to the same experimental sleep deprivation procedure, will allow us to better focus on the specific effects of sleep on cognition, and increase understanding of the mechanisms involved. In the present study we investigate whether sleep deprivation differentially affects the two separate cognitive processes of acquisition and consolidation of a spatial reversal task. After training on a spatial discrimination between two levers in a Skinner box, male Wistar rats were exposed to a reversal of the previously learned stimulus-response contingency. We first evaluated the effect of sleep deprivation on the acquisition of reversal learning. Performance on reversal learning after 12h of sleep deprivation (n=12) was compared to performance after control conditions (n=12). The second experiment evaluated the effect of sleep deprivation on the consolidation of reversal learning; the first session of reversal learning was followed by 3h of nap prevention (n=8) or undisturbed control conditions (n=8). The experiments had sufficient statistical power (0.90 and 0.81, respectively) to detect differences with medium effect sizes. Neither the acquisition, nor the consolidation, of reversal learning was affected by acute sleep deprivation. Together with previous findings, these results help to further delineate the role of sleep in cognitive processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center