Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology




Amy Hunter, PhD

Committee Member

Michael Vigorito, PhD

Committee Member

Marianne Lloyd, PhD


Radial Arm Maze, REM deprivation, Sex Differences, Spatial Memory, RAM


It is important for an organism to excel in spatial memory abilities. An organism’s survival is dependent on their ability to navigate through their environment to find resources, such as food and water, while being able to navigate home safely. With how important it is to navigate an environment safely, it is important to investigate things that impact spatial memory, such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep deprivation. Sleep research has primarily utilized male rodents to model sleep disturbances studies which cannot be easily studied in human participants. Research has been divided on whether four hours of REM sleep deprivation impacts spatial memory: some suggesting that there is an impact while others claim that there is no link between the two. Furthermore, with primarily focusing male rats, the literature is missing valuable data on the impact of REM sleep deprivation on spatial memory in female rats. The present study modeled human REM sleep deprivation on spatial memory to further investigate what impact REM sleep deprivation may have on spatial memory while also taking into account the sex differences that may occur. To model this, for 7 consecutive days the rats were REM sleep deprived for four hours after testing in the Radial Arm Maze (RAM). The results showed that REM sleep deprivation did not impact the male or female rats’ performance in the RAM. This may suggest that REM sleep deprivation does not impact spatial memory when performing in the RAM.