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Exp Brain Res. 2014 Jan;232(1):121-31. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3725-8. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

Adaptation of visual tracking synchronization after one night of sleep deprivation.

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Brain Trauma Foundation, 7 World Trade Center, 34th Floor, 250 Greenwich Street, New York, NY, 10007, USA,


The temporal delay between sensory input and motor execution is a fundamental constraint in interactions with the environment. Predicting the temporal course of a stimulus and dynamically synchronizing the required action with the stimulus are critical for offsetting this constraint, and this prediction-synchronization capacity can be tested using visual tracking of a target with predictable motion. Although the role of temporal prediction in visual tracking is assumed, little is known of how internal predictions interact with the behavioral outcome or how changes in the cognitive state influence such interaction. We quantified and compared the predictive visual tracking performance of military volunteers before and after one night of sleep deprivation. The moment-to-moment synchronization of visual tracking during sleep deprivation deteriorated with sensitivity changes greater than 40 %. However, increased anticipatory saccades maintained the overall temporal accuracy with near zero phase error. Results suggest that acute sleep deprivation induces instability in visuomotor prediction, but there is compensatory visuomotor adaptation. Detection of these visual tracking features may aid in the identification of insufficient sleep.

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