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 deprivation, and the cognitive neuroscience of aging. In addition to our own research, we support a number of other investigators.

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Upcoming study - Need for Sleep 3

20 October 2016 - Part of our community outreach efforts- assisting Team Z3 at SOTA (school of the arts) in their efforts to raise awareness about sleep in schools

CNL at the 23rd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society

June Lo and Michelle Short at ESRS
James Cousins presents his poster

22 July 2016 - Professor Ken Paller visit to Duke-NUS
It was a memorable learning experience. Thank you for visiting us!

16 June 2016, TODAY - Note to my sleep self: Do something about it
We know that not having enough sleep has negative impacts on various aspects of life. But what can we do about it? Professor Chee shared a few tips to help us re-evaluate our ways of life. Read more here.

25-27 May 2016
CNL’ers at the 6th Society for Biological Decision Making Meeting at Paris

Stijn busy explaining his poster
Mike, Stijn and Amitai Shenhav at the SBDM social




1 September 2016


Many adolescents are exposed to sleep restriction during school days. This behavior could have negative consequences for learning of skills and facts, hence eroding the value of formal education. Most research on the role of sleep in declarative memory has focused on recall performance after a single study opportunity, while in real life students usually learn across days. We found that adolescents exposed to sleep restriction exhibited greater forgetting of items that were learned during single study sessions, but not when items were studied over multiple days. Students with insufficient sleep who cram for exams might be especially prone to forgetting newly learned material, but deficits in learning can be minimized by spacing study sessions over time. [Download Article]

10 August 2016


Fluctuations in resting-state functional connectivity occur but their behavioral significance remains unclear, largely because correlating behavioral state with dynamic functional connectivity states (DCS) engages probes that disrupt the very behavioral state we seek to observe. In this study, we monitor spontaneous eyelid closures following sleep deprivation that permits nonintrusive arousal monitoring and we found that fluctuations in functional connectivity are associated with changes in arousal. [Download Article]

4 August 2016


Maintaining sustained attention over time is an effortful process limited by finite cognitive resources. Recent theories describe the role of motivation in the allocation of such resources as a decision process: the costs of effortful performance are weighed against its gains. We examined this hypothesis by combining methods from attention research and decision neuroscience. We found that higher rewards led to improved performance and enhanced attentional effort. [Download Article]

1 April 2016


There is compelling evidence that sleep facilitates consolidation of declarative memory, resulting in better memory performance after sleep than after a comparable duration of wakefulness. External stimulation can enhance specific brain oscillations leading to the reorganisation of memory traces and communication between cortical networks – processes that underlie systems consolidation of memory. Here, we investigated whether acoustic stimulation synchronized to slow waves can enhance these sleep features and facilitate memory consolidation during an afternoon nap. [Download Article]

19 March 2016


While cross-sectional studies are pertinent to the construction of new hypotheses, longitudinal studies are equally or maybe even more important because it may not be appropriate to extrapolate cross- sectional findings to predict the effects of ageing. Here, we examined the longitudinal intra- and inter-network functional connectivity changes in a cohort of relatively healthy older adults. [Download Article]

1 March 2016


Some of the world’s most sleep deprived students live in East Asia where students excel in standardized academic tests. This might reinforce the notion that ‘mind over matter’ can overcome negative effects of chronic sleep restriction. We found that in adolescents, partial sleep deprivation of comparable duration and severity to that examined in studies on young healthy adults elicited equivalent or greater neurobehavioral deficits across several cognitive domains. [Download Article]

1 January 2016


Sleep is important for optimal cognitive functioning across the lifespan. Among older adults (≥55 years), self-reported short and long sleep durations have been repeatedly, albeit inconsistently, reported to elevate the risk for poor cognitive function. This meta-analytic review quantitatively summarizes the risk for poorer cognitive function among short and long sleepers in older adults. [Download Article]


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