Mechanisms of Cognitive Control to Mobilize Neural Resources Perturbed by Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep severely affects the majority of cognitive abilities, presumably because the available neural resources are transiently depleted. This depletion disturbs attention and working memory, incentive processing and emotional responses and increases the likelihood of errors. The cognitive control system also requires resources to monitor task performance and to indicate necessary adaptations. It is, however, unclear how this system is influenced by sleep deprivation and whether it might be able to mobilize remaining resources and stabilize performance at least transiently.

Therefore, we use combined fMRI and EEG as well as eye tracking to explore the interactions between sleep deprivation and cognitive control processes. This includes behavioral measures of cognitive control (post error adaptations of task performance), physiological marker (pupil size) as well as neuronal read-outs of performance monitoring (EEG correlates: ERN and N2; fMRI signal changes in posterior medial frontal cortex, lateral prefrontal cortex and visual cortices).

Jana Tegelbeckers, Luca Budinger, Markus Ullsperger