Adrienne Tucker, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
The Taub Institute
630 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
Cognitive consequences of sleep deprivation: While sleep deprivation has been shown to grossly impair the ability to sustain attention in most individuals, some aspects of cognitive performance may be intact or even improved during sleep deprivation. For example, it is not clear how and whether sleep deprivation affects the performance of complex tasks such as time estimation and decision making. I am looking at tasks that allow one to isolate cognitive components of performance in order to pinpoint the source of performance changes during sleep loss. This may allow better prediction of the effects of sleep deprivation on functionally relevant outcomes.
Understanding differential vulnerability to performance lapses during sleep deprivation: Some individuals are seemingly resistant to performance lapses on tasks of sustained attention during sleep loss. I am interested in whether resistance in this cognitive domain is associated with resistance to impairment on other types of tasks during sleep deprivation. That is, I am interested in whether resistance to performance impairment is general or domain-specific in the context of sleep deprivation. Understanding these differences could help to predict how specific individuals will perform in real-world settings.
Brain activation and performance during sleep deprivation: I am using neuroimaging methods to examine differences in brain network utilization between those resistant and those vulnerable to lapses in sustained attention during sleep deprivation. I am also additionally interested in whether cognitive reserve variables such as IQ and education moderate the relationship between neural activation patterns and performance.
- Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation refers to a series of executive functions by which individuals shape which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they express these feelings to others. Despite the prevalence of emotion regulation in daily life, less attention has been paid to this topic than to other executive functions, and even less is known about how these abilities develop and change across the lifespan. There is preliminary evidence for bidirectional links between unsuccessful emotion regulation and sleep loss, although little work has been on this. My work seeks to address these gaps in knowledge.
To date, using carefully controlled laboratory-based paradigms, I have found that older adults are less successful at deploying cognitive reappraisal to decrease negative emotion. Thus, I am currently investigating the following questions:
- Can the ability to use to reduce negative emotion be improved with practice?
- How is skill in emotion regulation related to traditional measures of executive functioning?
- What are the links between emotion, emotion regulation and sleep loss?
Tucker AM, Stern Y, Basner RC, Rakitin BC. The Prefrontal Model Revisited: Double Dissociations Between Young Sleep Deprived and Elderly Subjects on Cognitive Components of Performance. Sleep, 34(8), 1039-1050, 2011
Tucker AM, Rakitin BC, Basner RC, Gazes Y, Steffener J, Stern Y. fMRI Activation During Failures to Respond Key to Understanding Performance Changes with Sleep Deprivation. Behavioural Brain Research, 218(1), 73-79, 2011
Tucker AM, Whitney P, Belenky G, Hinson JM, Van Dongen, HPA. Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Dissociated Components of Executive Functioning. Sleep, 33, 11, 47-57, 2010.
Tucker AM, Basner RC, Stern Y, Rakitin BC. The Variable Response-Stimulus Interval Effect and Sleep Deprivation: An Unexplored Aspect of Psychomotor Vigilance Task Performance. Sleep, 32, 1393-1395, 2009.
Tucker AM, Dinges DF, Van Dongen HPA. Trait Inter-individual Differences in the Sleep Physiology of Healthy Young Adults. Journal of Sleep Research, 16, 170-180, 2007.