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The Effect of Sleep Deprivation and Recovery Sleep on Emotional Memory and Affective Reactivity

Goal 1: How does sleep deprivation impact emotion perception and memory processing? The investigators are interested in how an acute loss of sleep impairs our ability to properly perceive, consolidate, and retrieve emotional information. There has been research on the effect of sleep deprivation on broad areas of cognition, such as attention, working memory, and reasoning ability, but the impact of sleep loss on emotional processing and regulation remains largely unexplored. The investigators aim to characterize how sleep deprivation compared to undisturbed sleep affects the ability to accurately perceive emotion, how it alters the intensity with which emotions are perceived, and the effect that these changes have on the subsequent consolidation and memory retrieval for emotional compared to neutral information.

Goal 2: How are these changes reflected in the neural signal and with psychophysiological measures? The investigators will utilize fMRI and measures of autonomic reactivity (heart rate and skin conductance) to characterize the neural and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying these behavioral changes following sleep deprivation compared to a normal night of sleep. This will allow us to pinpoint the brain regions involved in changes following sleep deprivation, and associate these changes with effects on downstream physiological responses.

Goal 3: Can a nap after sleep deprivation restore normal processing of emotional memory and rescue the neural and autonomic markers of sleep deprivation? The investigators are interested in determining if a brief period of recovery sleep is enough to combat the behavioral, neural, and autonomic effects of acute sleep loss, thus a portion of the sleep-deprived participants will be given a 2-hour nap opportunity to quantify its restorative effects. Such information would form the foundation for future research extending and translating these findings into effective sleep-based interventions for healthy and clinical populations alike.