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J Sleep Res. 2016 Dec;25(6):673-682. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12436. Epub 2016 Jul 5.

Sleep deprivation increases formation of false memory.

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Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.


Retrieving false information can have serious consequences. Sleep is important for memory, but voluntary sleep curtailment is becoming more rampant. Here, the misinformation paradigm was used to investigate false memory formation after 1 night of total sleep deprivation in healthy young adults (N = 58, mean age ± SD = 22.10 ± 1.60 years; 29 males), and 7 nights of partial sleep deprivation (5 h sleep opportunity) in these young adults and healthy adolescents (N = 54, mean age ± SD = 16.67 ± 1.03 years; 25 males). In both age groups, sleep-deprived individuals were more likely than well-rested persons to incorporate misleading post-event information into their responses during memory retrieval (P < 0.050). These findings reiterate the importance of adequate sleep in optimal cognitive functioning, reveal the vulnerability of adolescents' memory during sleep curtailment, and suggest the need to assess eyewitnesses' sleep history after encountering misleading information.


adolescents; adults; cognitive function; false memory; memory formation; sleep deprivation

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