Neurophysiological Processing of an Emotional Task is Sensitive to Time-of-Day
Journal of Circadian Rhythms
Previous work from our laboratory has shown that a measure of attention to emotionally-charged stimuli, the late positive potential (LPP) event related potential (ERP), distinguished neutral from emotional pictures on a baseline day, but not after sleep deprivation. Here we sought to extend these findings and address the uncertainty about the effect of time-of-day on emotion processing by testing a morning group (8:00–10:00 a.m., n = 30) and an evening group (8:00–10:00 p.m., n = 30). We also examined the extent of diurnal changes in cortisol related to the emotion processing task. Results from this study mirrored those found after one night of sleep deprivation. Compared to the morning group, the LPP generated by the evening group (who had a greater homeostatic sleep drive) did not distinguish neutral from emotionally-charged stimuli. New to this study, we also found that there was a time-of-day effect on positive, but not negative pictures. While, as expected, cortisol levels were higher in the morning relative to the evening group, there was no relationship between cortisol and the LPP ERP emotion measure. In addition, neither time-of-day preference nor sleep quality was related to the LPP measure. These findings show that, similar to what occurs after sleep deprivation, increased sleep pressure throughout the day interferes with attention processing to emotional stimuli.
Tartar, J. L.
(2017). Neurophysiological Processing of an Emotional Task is Sensitive to Time-of-Day. Journal of Circadian Rhythms, 15(1).
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/1560