Washington D.C.: A study has revealed that at night, early risers demonstrate a quicker reaction time while solving unusual attention-related tasks than night owls, but they make more mistakes along the way.
The study is available in the journal Experimental Brain Research. According to research, sleep deprivation and a relative increase in the time spent awake negatively impact the brain's attention system.
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics and Oxford University have uncovered new and distinctive features between the night activities of these two types of individuals. Twenty-six volunteers (13 male, 13 female) with an average age of 25 participated in the study.
The participants were required to stay awake for 18 hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and adhere to their normal routine. At the beginning and end of their time spent awake, the participants completed an Attention Network Test (ANT) and a morningness-eveningness questionnaire to help assess their chronotype.
The evening test showed a more pronounced contrast. The early birds completed tests quicker than the night owls, which was a rather unexpected and contradictory outcome, though the researchers did find an explanation for this.
Evening people tended to take a more serious approach when it came to tasks requiring more time and attention during their favorite hours, i.e., in the late evening or at night.
"To deal with the most difficult test - resolving a conflict of attention -- it was necessary not only to concentrate on the main visual stimulus, but at the same time to ignore accompanying stimulus that distract from the core task," Andriy Myachykov explains.
Completion of this task requires increased concentration. "An interesting fact is that although night owls spent more time finishing than early birds, their accuracy in completing the task was higher," the researcher added.
Overall, the evening people turned out to be slower but more efficient compared to the early risers....