Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Amy Hunter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amy Joh, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Vigorito, Ph.D.

Keywords

Adolescence, Sleep Deprivation, Chronic Sleep Restriction, Object Location Task, Object Recognition Task, Long-term Memory, Cognition

Abstract

Adolescence is a critical developmental period. An important change that occurs in adolescence is the neurological maturation for adult-type cognitive abilities. Research has linked adequate sleep quantity to successful learning and memory capabilities. However, due to a shift in sleep timing drive in adolescence, in combination with early awakening for school, the adolescent population is experiencing chronic sleep restriction (CSR). What repercussions to long-term memory capabilities could CSR in adolescence have immediately and are the consequences long-lasting? The present study modeled human adolescent CSR in rats through four hours of sleep deprivation for five days, followed by two days of unrestricted sleep, and five more days of four hours of sleep deprivation; thus the rats were exposed to CSR throughout the two-week rat adolescent period. Long-term hippocampal dependent and non-hippocampal dependent memory were tested through the object location task and the object recognition task, respectively. Testing occurred in adolescence and after a four-week delay during which the rats slept freely and matured to adulthood. The results showed that, given the appropriate conditions for successful long-term memory, the rats exposed to CSR in adolescence showed impaired hippocampal dependent memory in adolescence and this impairment was also evident in adulthood. These findings were not the case for non-hippocampal dependent memory, for which a significant effect of sleep was not found. Given the findings of the hippocampal dependent task, these results suggest that CSR in adolescence may influence less than optimal memory performance among adolescents. Further, the pattern in adulthood suggests that even after undisturbed sleep in the period from adolescence to adult maturation, the consequences of adolescent CSR are relentless. The findings in this study inform the research as the first rodent model of adolescent CSR and indicate practical implications for the health of adolescents.

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