The Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Detection of Correlational and Causal Relationships, and Performance on an Engagement Skills Trainer Task in Soldiers
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL
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Correlation detection, or rather the ability to determine whether two things are related, is an essential cognitive ability that underlies a number of other processes such as causal judgment. Under conditions of stress cognitive resources become taxed and the probability of a judgment error increases. To mitigate the risk of an error, people tend to use cognitive short-cuts. It was predicted that performance would reflect a short-cut technique and accuracy would be compromised during periods of sleep deprivation. Performance by 20 US Army Soldiers was evaluated on classic laboratory measures of correlation and causal judgment, measures sensitive to fatigue, and a correlation detection task employing the weapons simulator at baseline, after 24 and 36 hours of sleep deprivation, and after 8 hours of recovery sleep. The results of this study suggest that people use cognitive short-cuts under as few as 24 hours sleep deprivation thus decrementing performance. By understanding these cognitive short-cuts, cues presented in information displays can be manipulated to exploit these techniques and ultimately decrease the likelihood of an error.
- Stress Physiology