Sleep Electrophysiology and Reward Processing
Recent evidence suggests that sleep and sleep loss have profound effects on emotional brain reactivity, especially for positive emotional experiences. As a consequence, sleep disruption may lead to detrimental risk taking and reward seeking. However, it remains unclear exactly what type of sleep helps reset the brains ability to appropriately react to rewarding experiences. I propose to test the hypothesis that a specific type of sleeprapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, and its associated electrical brain activityrestores the optimal next-day reactivity to rewarding, motivating experiences. I will therefore investigate whether the quantity and electrical quality of the sleeping brain predicts (hence, resets) appropriate levels of next-day reactivity in reward centers of the brain. Considering the high prevalence of sleep disruption in addiction disorders, combined with the continued loss of sleep time in young populations where risk taking and reward seeking are a major concern, this proposed research holds direct clinical and societal ramifications.
Message to Sponsor
- Major: Science, Philosophy (minor)
- Sponsor: Pergo Fund
- Mentor: Matthew Walker, Psychology