The Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (CNL) is a multidisciplinary research laboratory that studies the neural underpinnings of human behavior primarily using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Our two focus areas are cognition in the setting of sleep and sleep deprivation, and the cognitive neuroscience of aging. In addition to our own research, we support a number of other investigators.

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Recent Publications

15 November 2018

Preparation of attention facilitates speeded responding at time points with a high probability of target occurrence. Conversely, time points with low target probability are disadvantaged due to lower readiness. When targets are uniformly distributed in time, this effect results in higher readiness after longer preparation times (foreperiods). During sleep deprivation, this temporal bias is amplified, resulting in greater performance decrement when stimuli occur at unfavourable times. In this study, we examined whether reward motivation could modulate this increased temporal bias in response speed. Participants (n = 24) performed the psychomotor vigilance task under four reward conditions (0, 1, 5 or 15c per fast response), both after normal sleep (rested wakefulness) and sleep deprivation. To assess temporal preparation (foreperiod‐effect), trials were binned based on the lead time prior to target presentation (short foreperiod: 1–6 s; long foreperiod: 6–10 s). As previously observed, the foreperiod‐effect (slower reaction time for short foreperiod trials) increased after sleep deprivation. However, this state effect was attenuated with reward, reaching a response speed comparable to that observed in the unrewarded, well‐rested condition. The current findings, therefore, suggest that reward improves overall response performance and normalises temporal attention in sleep‐deprived individuals.

[Download Article]

10 April 2018


Delaying school start times to improve adolescent sleep and well-being has been shown to be beneficial in Western cultures, but its usefulness in East Asian countries where students are driven to trade sleep for academic success is less clear. The sustainability of sleep habit improvement is also not well characterized. In this study, students in a Singapore school demonstrated improvements in sleep and well-being at 1 month after a 45-min delay in school start time, and these positive changes were maintained at 9 months.

Read this article in the news [Link to Science Daily] or view the full article here.

27 March 2018


Sleep deprivation (SD) consistently degrades performance in tasks requiring sustained attention, resulting in slower and more variable response times that worsen with time-on-task. Loss of motivation to exert effort may exacerbate performance degradation during SD. To test this, we evaluated sustained performance on a vigilance task, combining this with an effort-based decision-making task and pupillometry. [Download Article]

26 March 2018


Sleep staging is a fundamental but time consuming process in any sleep laboratory. To greatly speed up sleep staging without compromising accuracy, we developed a novel framework for performing real-time automatic sleep stage classification. Using this system, an entire night’s sleep was staged with an accuracy on par with expert human scorers but much faster (≈5 s compared with 30–60 min). [Download Article]

19 March 2018


Prospective memory is defined as remembering to do something at a particular moment in the future and may be modulated by sleep. Here, we investigated whether multiple nights of partial sleep deprivation would affect the successful retrieval of intentions. [Download Article]


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Of Interest

Adolescent Sleep and Educational Performance

We know that sleep is fundamental for learning, memory consolidation and information processing, alongside restoration and repair of the body. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to sleep disruption around puberty, as both physical and behavioural changes impact upon sleep, which, in turn, can influence their ability to engage in the classroom and learn.

Impact : Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching | Feb 2018

F1: How crashing out helps win races

"F1 drivers are looking for every edge, every advantage and sleep is one of the tools they can use to make sure they are at optimal performance." - Steven Lockley, Harvard Medical School

CNN | 14 Sep 2017

Sleep regularity is important for the happiness and well-being of college students

We found that week-long irregular sleep schedules are significantly associated with lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week even after controlling for weekly average sleep duration," said lead author Akane Sano, PhD, research scientist in the Media Lab Affective Computing Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Medical Xpress | 5 Jun 2017

Later school start times in the U.S. : An economic analysis

Recent report by RAND corporation showed that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy.

RAND Corporation | 31 Aug 2017

Fatigue and Training Gaps Spell Disaster at Sea, Sailors Warn

In interviews, more than a dozen current and former ship commanders who served in the western Pacific said the strain on the Navy's fleet there had caused maintenance gaps and training shortfalls that had not been remedied or had received only cursory attention as leaders focused on immediate missions.

The New York Times | 27 Aug 2017

NeuroImage is third ranked in the category of Health and Medical Sciences under the subcategory of Neurology and is 64 in the overall list. Within NeuroImage, one of our better-known works within the last 5 years is our piece on functional connectivity in sleep deprived persons (De Havas).

Google Scholar Metrics 2017

Parenting Made Easy - Good Sleep Habits
Sleep hygiene and encouraging good sleeping habits is our focus this week. The importance of children getting enough sleep. How can this help children learn better, and lead a healthy lifestyle?

Parenting Made Easy | 2 Jun 2017

Voices Of Youth : No downside to starting school late

"I am more awake in class and able to concentrate better. I can last longer before feeling tired."

The Straits Times | 19 Jul 2017

More schools should take leaf out of Nanyang's book

I support Professor Michael Chee's call for more schools to emulate Nanyang Girls' High School by implementing a later start time. Given the scientific evidence in favour of this, there is no time to lose. The scale-up of such a scheme, however, can succeed only if the interests of other stakeholders, such as parents, teachers and transport operators, are also considered.

TODAY | 2 Jun 2017

Letting students sleep in is a move worth emulating

Despite numerous medical studies supporting links between short sleep duration and diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome, many doctors are largely unaware or indifferent to these findings. The focus of medicine in Singapore is on screening, early diagnosis, early and cost-effective treatment, not prevention. As such, there is widespread ignorance of well-established facts like the mid-adolescent shift in preference for later sleep times and its subsequent reversal in early adulthood.

TODAY | 29 May 2017

Do parents' support behaviours predict whether or not their children get sufficient sleep? A cross-sectional study

Pyper et al. found that on weekdays, enforcing rules about child bedtime was a significant positive predictor of children meeting sleep guidelines. Furthermore, the importance of children getting a good night's sleep, and the capacity of parents to help them do so, should be emphasized in public health efforts promoting healthy child development.

BMC Public Health | 24 May 2017

A big difference in students, after Nanyang Girls starts school later at 8.15am

"At the end of the day I would find myself losing focus and not really catching what the teacher was saying. But now, for my last lesson, I'll still be paying attention"

Channel NewsAsia | 10 May 2017

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