One night of sleep deprivation affects reaction time, but not interference or facilitation in a Stroop task

Sean Cain, Edward J Silva, AnneMarie Chang, Joseph M Ronda, Jeanne F Duffy

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58 Citations (Scopus)


The Stroop color-naming task is one of the most widely studied tasks involving the inhibition of a prepotent response, regarded as an executive function. Several studies have examined performance on versions of the Stroop task under conditions of acute sleep deprivation. Though these studies revealed effects on Stroop performance, the results often do not differentiate between general effects of sleep deprivation on performance and effects specifically on interference in the Stroop task. To examine the effect of prolonged wakefulness on performance on the Stroop task, we studied participants in a 40-h ?constant routine? protocol during which they remained awake in constant conditions and performed a Stroop color-naming task every two hours. We found that reaction time was slowest when the color and word did not match (incongruent), fastest when the color and word did match (congruent), and intermediate when participants named the color of the non-word stimulus (neutral). Performance on all three trial types degraded significantly as a function of time awake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 42
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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