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Discuss psychological studies into sleep deprivation.

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Discuss psychological studies into sleep deprivation The first documented study of sleep deprivation was conducted by Patrick & Gilbert in 1898. They deprived three healthy young men of sleep for 90 hours. The men reported a gradually increasing desire to sleep and from the second night onwards two of them experienced perceptual disorders. When they were allowed to sleep all for them slept for longer than they usually did and the psychological disturbances they experienced disappeared. There are problems with this study in that in 1898, equipment was not available to measure signals from the brain and demand characteristics may have played a part because the participants may have expected to experience perceptual disorders. In 1959, Peter Tripp, a New York DJ, staged a charity 'wakeathon' in which he did not sleep for eight days. ...read more.


However, there is a flaw with saying that he definitely didn't experience any effects. Such effects are not always possible to detect, and they may not appear until several years later. Going without sleep for over 200 hours has been subsequently achieved by a number of people, none of whom seem to have experienced any long-term detrimental effects. Unfortunately because the cases of Tripp, Gardner and others were not carried out carefully in controlled conditions, it is difficult to draw a conclusion about sleep deprivation from these studies alone. However, H´┐Żber-Weidman produced a psychological list of the effects of sleep deprivation day by day. He found that on the second night of sleep deprivation, a person's urge to sleep becomes much greater. On night three, tasks requiring sustained attention are seriously impaired whilst on night four, participants usually go through periods of micro-sleep. ...read more.


Each time brain activity indicated sleep, the disc rotated. This forced the rat to walk if it wanted to avoid falling in the water. Another rat was used as a control and was allowed to sleep when it wanted to. After 33 days all the sleep deprived rats had died whilst those that slept normally appeared not to have suffered. However, there are ethical issues that must be taken into account. To subject an animal to no sleep is ethically wrong. It is also impossible to generalise the results to humans to say that after 33 days of no sleep a human would die. As there have been no recorded attempts of a human going for so long without sleep, it cannot be assumed. The experiment also lacked ecological validity because it isn't something that would happen in real life. Darren Burn (C) ~ 1 ~ 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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