World’s Largest Sleep Study

Study seeks global volunteers to play online games to test sleep effects


A team of scientists at Western University in Ontario, Canada, are to conduct the world’s largest study on the effects of sleep. They are seeking people from all around the world to take cognitive tests to help determine how sleep affects the brain.

The tests include specially made computer games testing reasoning, language comprehension and decision-making. The tests can be played on any smartphone, tablet or computer device. One game, called Odd One Out, involves the player trying to find the shape different from the others.

One game, Double Trouble, has words of colour, such as blue, coloured in with a different colour, such as red. Players must  click the correct word corresponding to colours show on screen.

Prof Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientist based at the Ontario is in charge of the study. He said: “We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep but we know very little about the effects on the brain; we want to see how it affects cognition, memory and your ability to concentrate.”

Owen added: “It may be that lack of sleep is having very profound effects on decision making and perhaps we should avoid making important decisions like buying a house or deciding whether to get married when we are sleep deprived.”



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