BOONE, N.C. — How does missing a good night’s sleep affect a person’s decisions and interactions with others during their waking life?
Three professors in Appalachian State University’s Department of Economics have received grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate the answer to this question through their research project titled “Sleep Restriction and Strategic Interactions.”
The faculty members who received the grant, which totaled $134,605, are Dr. David Dickinson, professor in the Department of Economics in Appalachian’s Walker College of Business, and Drs. Dave Bruner and Dave McEvoy, both associate professors in the Department of Economics. The grant is administered by Appalachian’s Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (RIEEE).
“How sleepiness affects decisions in strategic and socially interactive environments is not well known, even though settings requiring mutual trust and/or coordination are widespread,” Dickinson said.
For the project, Dickinson said he and his team will recruit young adult participants who can commit to a one-week study on the effects of sleep restriction. The participants will receive a randomly assigned manipulation of their sleep levels to either a well-rested (WR) or a more sleep-restricted (SR) level, he said.
“Participant compliance with the WR or SR prescribed amount of nightly sleep is verified through the use of objective sleep tracking devices and sleep diaries,” Dickinson explained.
In describing the project, Dickinson said the weeklong study will include the following steps:
- Study participants will visit the lab both at the beginning and end of the sleep treatment week.
- The research team will collect data on some behavioral measures at the beginning of the experiment week.
- The team will assess the participant’s decision-making in a series of strategic interaction tasks at the end of the experiment treatment week, when participants are either well-rested or sleep-restricted.
He said the tasks used will help identify the importance of specific components of decision-making that may be responsible for altered behavior in strategic decision-making, such as use of decision shortcuts, susceptibility to behavioral biases or the impaired ability to think ahead during one’s reasoning.
“The implications of this research are clear when one realizes that reduced trust or cooperation in social interactions can have multiplier effects in society, and coordination failure effects outcomes in diverse arenas such as team outcomes in the workplace, disaster risk management, or search and rescue success, to name a few,” Dickinson said.
Appalachian undergraduate research assistants involved with the project include Jessica Robinson, a senior economics major from Cary, and Alexxis Jester, a senior psychology major from Knoxville, Tennessee.
About the Department of Economics
The Department of Economics offers diverse courses that cover standard fields such as microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, labor, public finance, regional and development economics. The department is particularly strong in the areas of environmental and experimental economics. It offers the Bachelor of Science in business administration (B.S.B.A.) and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Learn more at https://economics.appstate.edu.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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