REACTION PAPER

Topics: Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Memory Pages: 6 (975 words) Published: March 9, 2015
Running Head: Sleep Loss Causes False Memory

Sleep Loss Causes False Memory
Nusrat Nishat
Queens Collegiate

Sleep Loss Causes False Memory
Abstract
There are times when people claim to remember events that never happened. They are even extremely confident about it. This happens because lack of sleep impairs the retrieval of stored memories. After an experiment, it was proven that people who stay awake right after studying remember the wrong information, creating false memories, while people who immediately sleep after studying remember the correct information for a test. Another experiment showed that people who received 5 hours or less of sleep were more likely to say that they saw a news video when they never did. I was very surprised after reading about the amount of difference sleep can make on our memory. I know that many people I interact with may have false memories, since they receive very few hours of sleep. Keywords: false memory, sleep deprivation, memory, experiment

Sleep Loss Causes False Memory
The articles, “Sleep Loss Produces False Memories” and “Less Than 5 Hours of Sleep Leads to False Memories”, are both about how sleep deprivations leads to false memory and other memory related issues. In the article “Sleep Loss Produces False Memories” by Susanne Dieklmann, Hans- Peter Landlot, Olaf Lahl, Jan Born and Ullrich Wagner, the authors tell us that human memory is not a literal record of the world, but is influenced by knowledge that already exists in the brain. Therefore, sometimes what people retrieve from memory differs from what was originally encoded. Sleep is very important when it comes to memory formation. While people sleep, new memories are strengthened and redistributed to other brain regions for long-term storage. This restricting may sometimes lead to the formation of false memories because after the reorganization of these memories, the actual memory can differ from the real memory. The authors stated that evidence indicates that sleep deprivation markedly impairs cognitive functions like vigilance, attention, working memory, divergent thinking and other executive functions. They had a series of experiments performed to test the theory that sleep loss causes false memory. The people that they experimented on, also known as subjects, either stayed awake right after learning or fell asleep. They learned a list of semantically associated words like night, dark and coal. They did not add the word black to the list even though it strongly associated with those words. They tested the retrieval memory of the subjects after 9, 33 or 44 hours after learning. They presented the words on the list again, but this time, they added the word black in the list with unrelated words to distract the subject. Each subject had to indicate if the words were present during when they learned them or not. The sleep-deprived subjects falsely remembered that the word Sleep Loss Causes False Memory

black was in the list. Apparently, after the subjects received caffeine before retrieval testing, the caffeine contributed to the false memory generation following sleep loss. In the article “Less Than 5 Hours of Sleep Leads to False Memories” by Mandy Oaklander, the author mentioned that sleep loss worsens cognitive function, slows reaction time, and makes learning more difficult. Oaklander mentioned that there was an experiment performed with among 193 people and those who received 5 or fewer hours of sleep were more likely to say that they saw a news video when they never did. She says that false memories are thought to be the number one cause of false accusations in the United States. I found it interesting that sleep loss causes that significant amount of problems. I actually don’t receive more than 5 hours of sleep, which I think leads me to not do so well on certain exams. I think the authors of “Sleep Loss...

References: http://time.com/3328149/sleep-deprivation-false-memories/
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0003512#s1
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