Effects of sleep deprivation on lateral visual attention

Athena P. Kendall, Mary A. Kautz, Michael B. Russo, William D.S. Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Sleep loss temporarily impairs vigilance and sustained attention. Because these cognitive abilities are believed to be mediated predominantly by the right cerebral hemisphere, this article hypothesized that continuous sleep deprivation results in a greater frequency of inattention errors within the left versus right visual fields. Twenty-one participants were assessed several times each day during a 40-h period of sustained wakefulness and following a night of recovery sleep. At each assessment, participants engaged in a continuous serial addition task while simultaneously monitoring a 150°visual field for brief intermittent flashes of light. Overall, omission errors were most common in the leftmost peripheral field for all sessions, and did not show any evidence of a shift in laterality as a function of sleep deprivation. Relative to rested baseline and postrecovery conditions, sleep deprivation resulted in a global increase in omission errors across all visual locations and a general decline in serial addition performance. These findings argue against the hypothesis that sleep deprivation produces lateralized deficits in attention and suggest instead that deficits in visual attention produced by sleep deprivation are global and bilateral in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1138
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Laterality
  • Right-hemisphere
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Vigilance
  • Visual field
  • Visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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