Some tasks are most affected by sleep deprivation (SD) than others. A recent meta-analysis (Lim, & Dinges, 2010) considering several cognitive fields show that the effect sizes ranged from small and non significant to large. Interestingly, performance do not significantly decrease on the more complex cognitive tasks over the night of sleep deprivation (Pilcher et al., 2003). So, if the task encourages to remain attentive to and engaged in the task, performance is less affected by SD. According to this, it could be relevant to test this hypothesis using a really engaging task like the flicker task FT. It requires subjects to find a change occurring when two version of the same scene alternate repeatedly, separated by a brief gray screen. The pictures are identical except in a specific detail, the change to find. Based on the scene characteristics, there are changes first and easily found (of Central Interest: CI) and others requiring more time (of marginal interest: MI). Our results show that SD affects differently the detection of CI and MI changes. This findings support the notion that a moderate sleep deprivation affects voluntary attentional processes to a greater degree than automatic processes (Trujillo, Kornguth, & Schnyer, 2009).
Night-time, sleep loss and change blindness: how low arousal affects a very engaging task / Maccari, Lisa; Martella, Diana; Marotta, Andrea; M., Sebastaiani; M., Sebastiani; Spagna, Alfredo; Casagrande, Maria. - In: JOURNAL OF SLEEP RESEARCH. - ISSN 0962-1105. - ELETTRONICO. - 21:1(2012), pp. 116-116.