The King–Devick test as a predictor of cognitive effects after chronic partial sleep restriction: a pilot study


The King–Devick test (K–D) is sensitive to the effects of acute sleep deprivation. It remains unclear whether the K–D is sensitive to the effects of chronic partial sleep restriction (SR). K–D performance was compared in a college student sample at baseline and after a week of SR. Subjects also completed measures of attention, processing speed, working memory, vocabulary and verbal reasoning. Subjects performed worse relative to their baselines on the K–D than previous test–retest reliability literature indicates, and worse on tests of attention, processing speed and working memory. Verbal reasoning and vocabulary were unaffected. An association between K–D performance and sleep duration during SR trended toward significance. These results provide initial support for the sensitivity of the K–D to SR.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge Richard Aslin, PhD and Rajeev Raizada, PhD, both of whom contributed to the editing of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to John P. K. Bernstein.

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Research involving human participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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John Bernstein and John Langfitt declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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Bernstein, J.P.K., Langfitt, J. The King–Devick test as a predictor of cognitive effects after chronic partial sleep restriction: a pilot study. Sleep Biol. Rhythms 15, 67–73 (2017).

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  • Sleep
  • Assessment
  • Cognition
  • Attention