Poster B29, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Sleep deprivation impairment of flexible attentional control is dependent on dopaminergic genotype
Paul Whitney1, John Hinson1, Brieann Satterfield1, Hans Van Dongen1; 1Washington State University
Sleep deprivation (SD) profoundly impacts performance on a wide variety of tasks, but differentially affects distinct aspects of cognition. Our prior studies demonstrated that the most well-known effect of SD on cognition, instability in vigilant attention, does not explain SD impairment when feedback must be used to flexibly adjust behavior to changing circumstances. Here we adopt the dual modes of control framework to examine SD effects on both stable and flexible control of attention, and to identify potential biomarkers of susceptibility to SD effects. In a controlled laboratory study of SD, subjects performed a battery of cognitive tests, including a variant of the AX Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT) to assess multiple aspects of attentional control. Our variant provided standard AX-CPT trials followed by a switch in stimulus–response mappings during the session to allow measurement of both stable (pre-switch) and flexible (post-switch) attentional control. In addition, we examined a common genetic polymorphism related to dopamine, DRD2 C957T, which affects striatal D2 receptors involved in flexible reallocation of attention. We report two novel findings: first, both stable and flexible attentional control were strongly impaired by SD in most of our subjects; second, subjects with one variant of the DRD2 C957T polymorphism were highly resilient to SD effects on flexible attentional control. The genetic biomarker identified in this study should predict resilience to SD in tasks requiring rapid updating of information and adaptation to changing environmental contingencies.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Goal maintenance & switching