Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer is “no,” you are not alone. Two-thirds of adults fail to obtain the recommended 8 hours of nightly sleep. You may be surprised by the consequences, which Matthew Walker (University of California, Berkeley) describes in his keynote for the 26th annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting. His talk describes not only the good things that happen when you get sleep but also the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don’t get enough. He discusses the brain (learning, memory aging, Alzheimer’s disease, education), and highlights disease-related consequences in the body (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease). The take-home: Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset the health of our brains and bodies.
Discussants: Lila Davachi, Columbia University, Jennifer Groh, Duke University, Catherine Hartley, New York University, Sharon L. Thompson-Schill, University of Pennsylvania.
Discussion moderator: David Poepple, New York University
Whether we study single cells, measure populations of neurons, characterize anatomical structure, or quantify BOLD, whether we collect reaction times or construct computational models, it is a presupposition of our field that we strive to bridge the neurosciences and the psychological/cognitive sciences. Our tools provide us with ever-greater spatial resolution and ideal temporal resolution. But do we have the right conceptual resolution? This conversation focuses on how we are doing with this challenge, whether we have examples of successful linking hypotheses between psychological and neurobiological accounts, whether we are missing important ideas or tools, and where we might go or should go, if all goes well. The conversation, in other words, examines the very core of cognitive neuroscience.