Sleep Deprivation, Arousal, and Performance
The aim of this paper is to provide a theoretical framework within which the performance effects of sleep deprivation (SD) can be interpreted. Primarily, the possibilities and limitations of interpretations in terms of dearousal are evaluated. An interactional view of the relation between SD and arousal is proposed, suggesting that the effect of SD is to potentiate the dearousing effect of situational variables. The habituation of the orienting response is suggested as one possible mediator of this effect. The reported performance effects of SD are shown to be interpretable within this framework. The effects of motivational factors on the SD effects and the SD effect on motivation are discussed, leading to the conclusion that habituation cannot be the only mediator of the dearousing influence of the situation, and that an analysis in operant terms must be added.
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