Minimizing sleep deprivation effects in healthy adults by differential outcomes.Acta Psychol (Amst). 2012 Mar; 139(3):391-6.AP
Sleep deprivation reduces vigilance or arousal levels, affecting the efficiency of certain cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Here we assessed whether the differential outcomes procedure (DOP), a learning procedure that has proved useful to ameliorate episodic memory deficits, can also improve memory performance in sleep-deprived participants. Photographs were presented as sample faces. A probe face was then presented for recognition after either short or long delays. In the differential outcomes condition a unique reinforcer followed correct responses. In the non-differential outcomes condition reinforcers were provided in a random manner. The results indicated that the DOP prevented the recognition memory to decrement during the long delay in the control group, replicating previous findings. The sleep-deprived group showed DOP benefits mainly with the short delay, when working memory could be affected by low arousal. These findings confirm that the DOP can overcome impaired recognition memory due to sleep deprivation conditions.