Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sleep Deprivation Affects Moral Judgment, Study Finds

Date:
March 2, 2007
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
A study published in the March 1 issue of the journal Sleep finds that sleep deprivation impairs the ability to integrate emotion and cognition to guide moral judgments.

Research has shown that bad sleep can adversely affect a person's physical health and emotional well-being. However, the amount of sleep one gets can also influence his or her decision-making. A study published in the March 1st issue of the journal SLEEP finds that sleep deprivation impairs the ability to integrate emotion and cognition to guide moral judgments.

Related Articles


The study, conducted by William D.S. Killgore, PhD, and colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was focused on 26 healthy adults, who made judgments about the "appropriateness" of various courses of action in response to three types of moral dilemmas on two separate occasions: at rested baseline and again following 53 hours of continuous wakefulness.

Compared to baseline, sleep deprivation resulted in significantly longer response latencies (suggesting greater difficulty deciding upon a course of action) for moral personal dilemmas.

The findings suggest that continuous wakefulness has a particularly debilitating effect on judgment and decision making processes that depend heavily upon the integration of emotion with cognition, said Killgore, adding that the results provide further support to the hypothesis that sleep loss is particularly disruptive to the ventromedial prefrontal regions of the brain, which are important for the integration of affect and cognition in the service of judgment and decision making.

"Most of us are confronted with moral dilemmas nearly every day, although the majority of these choices are minor and of little consequence," said Killgore. "Although such decisions are inextricably steeped in social, emotional, religious and moral values, and their correct courses of action cannot be determined through scientific inquiry, it is well within the realm of science to ask how the brain goes about solving such dilemmas and what factors, whether internal or external to the individual, contribute to the judgments and decisions that are ultimately reached."

According to Dr. Killgore, these findings do not suggest that sleep deprivation leads to a decline in "morality" or in the quality of moral beliefs, but a latency to respond and the change in the leniency or permissiveness of response style as evidenced by the tendency to decide that particular courses of action were "appropriate" before and after sleep loss.

"Our results simply suggest that when sleep deprived, individuals appear to be selectively slower in their deliberations about moral personal dilemmas relative to other types of dilemmas," said Killgore.

The present findings may have implications for those in occupations that frequently require periods of extended sleep loss and in which real-world moral dilemmas may be encountered (e.g., emergency medical services, military personnel in combat, fire/rescue workers), noted Killgore. When sleep deprived, such personnel may experience greater difficulty reaching morally based decisions under emotionally evocative circumstances and may be prone to choosing courses of action that differ from those that they would have chosen in a fully rested state, added Killgore.

Experts recommend that adults get seven-to-eight hours of sleep on a nightly basis.

Those who think they might have a sleep disorder are urged to discuss their problem with their primary care physician, who will issue a referral to a sleep specialist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Deprivation Affects Moral Judgment, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301081831.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2007, March 2). Sleep Deprivation Affects Moral Judgment, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301081831.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Deprivation Affects Moral Judgment, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070301081831.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins