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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Upcoming study

The Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory is looking for 15 to 19 year olds to take part in our fourth annual sleep research camp, Need For Sleep 4!
Join us this December holiday to learn how your sleep habits can affect your health and performance, to see science in action, have a picture of your brain taken, and most importantly - have fun and make new friends!

Participation is FREE, and you will be reimbursed for your time!

If you are interested to take part, sign up for a briefing session with us, taking place on Saturdays. SIGN UP HERE.

What is Need For Sleep 4 about?

In a recent survey, 80% of high school students in Singapore reported getting less than the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep on school nights. These findings are alarming, especially in light of associations found between short sleep and cognitive and emotional impairments. Some of these include poorer school performance, problems with attention and cognition, as well as negative moods such as anxiety and depression.

Need For Sleep is a series of sleep research camps held annually by our laboratory to investigate these associations between restricted sleep and health and cognitive outcomes in adolescents in Singapore, and to explore how additional sleep can alleviate some of these impairments. Need For Sleep 4 aims to explore whether additional sleep is more effective when taken as a daytime nap or simply added to nocturnal sleep, and also to investigate the impact of recurrent sleep restriction and recovery on glucose regulation. Participants will stay at a dormitory for 14 nights, keeping to a fixed sleep schedule, and undergo a variety of cognitive tasks during the day.

Check out our frequently asked questions for more details about the study.

If you have any further concerns or queries, do not hesitate to email us at You can follow us on Facebook for future updates.


27 July 2017
Download Professor Michael Chee's slides on "Why Changing Sleep Habits Needs To Be Your Business"

19 July 2017 - Straits Times

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." [Read more]

Google Scholar Metrics 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).

3-7 June 2017 - CNL team at SLEEP 2017

2 June 2017 - TODAY
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.
[Read more]

29 May 2017 - TODAY
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.
[Read more]

Of interest - Research paper published in BMC Public Health
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.
[Download full article]

16 May 2017 - Channel NewsAsia
Commentary: Starting school later is key to
solving sleep problem faced by Singapore students

Dr Julian Lim and Dr Lee Su Mei address concerns raised about the potential costs of starting school later. Our team is not blind to these challenges and we would like to share why we believe that starting school later is advisable in spite of them.
[Read more]




27 January 2017


Achievement-oriented adolescents often study long hours under conditions of chronic sleep restriction, adversely affecting cognitive function. Here, we studied how napping and rest breaks (interleaved off-task periods) might ameliorate the negative effects of sleep restriction on processing speed. [Download Article]

16 December 2016


Prioritization is helpful in keeping the volume of information we encounter each day to a manageable level. This may include presenting information in bold or highlighted text, explicitly telling individuals to remember information, and/or offering rewards for later memory. While these strategies are used commonly, it is unclear how their benefit evolves and for how long these enhancing effects persist. Of specific interest to the present work is whether sleep modulates the retrieval of these prioritized versus non-prioritized memoranda over time. Overall, we found that the benefits of prioritization on memory are enhanced over time, requiring time and sleep to unfold fully. [Download Article]

16 December 2016


Memories of an event rarely provide a literal record of that experience. Instead, they involve the integration of elements of that episode with prior experience or knowledge. When the memory of a specific episode is confused with prior similar experiences, and/or fails to be distinctly encoded, errors in subsequent memory retrieval can occur. Sleep is important for memory, but voluntary sleep curtailment is becoming more rampant. Here, the misinformation paradigm was used to investigate false memory formation after 1 night of total sleep deprivation in healthy young adults and 7 nights of partial sleep deprivation (5 h sleep opportunity) in these young adults and healthy adolescents. We found that sleep-deprived individuals were more likely than well-rested persons to incorporate misleading post-event information into their responses during memory retrieval. [Download Article]


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