But Others Unaffected
Johns Hopkins senior Terry Dean studied sleeping
patterns of fellow college students
After three long years of watching his friends pull all-nighters, Johns Hopkins University senior Terry Dean, a neuroscience major from Vineland, N.J., began to wonder if sleep deprivation affected their performance on exams.
So he decided to conduct an experiment: He recruited random Johns Hopkins students, deprived them of sleep for more than 24 hours and then stuck them in a small room for Friday night and much of Saturday to see how they would act. By the end of the experiment, funded by Johns Hopkins' Provost Awards for Undergraduate Research, he had data on 20 sleep-deprived subjects and 20 controls to compare.
"I did analyses of two different types of data -- mood performance and cognitive testing -- and they were not significantly correlated with the amount of sleep they had," Dean says.
"He was very thorough. There are few studies that have looked at the combination of mood and cognitive testing," Allen says. "Other studies look at mood or cognition studies [separately]."
It turned out that sleep deprivation had no clear, consistent impact on student performance but instead was a case-by-case situation.
"I thought I would have something more concrete," Dean says. "But some people don't perform as well, and some people perform as if they got the normal amount of sleep."
The Johns Hopkins University is recognized as the country's first graduate research university, and has been in recent years the leader among the nation's universities in winning federal research and development grants. The opportunity to be involved in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of an undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins.
The Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards program provides one of these research opportunities, open to students in each of the university s four schools with full-time undergraduates: the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering, the Peabody Conservatory and the School of Nursing. Since 1993, about 40 students each year have been awarded up to $2,500 to propose and conduct original research, some results of which have been published in professional journals. The awards are funded through a donation from the Hodson Trust.
Dean is pursuing a five-year bachelor's/master's degree and will continue research with Allen next year on animal behavior. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Terry Dean and graduated from St. Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, N.J. Color images of Dean are available. Contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160.
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