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Data from: Perceptual impairment in face identification with poor sleep

Cite this dataset

Beattie, Louise et al. (2016). Data from: Perceptual impairment in face identification with poor sleep [Dataset]. Dryad.


Previous studies have shown impaired memory for faces following restricted sleep. However, it is not known whether lack of sleep impairs performance on face identification tasks that do not rely on recognition memory, despite these tasks being more prevalent in security and forensic professions—for example, in photo-ID checks at national borders. Here we tested whether poor sleep affects accuracy on a standard test of face-matching ability that does not place demands on memory: the Glasgow Face-Matching Task (GFMT). In Experiment 1, participants who reported sleep disturbance consistent with insomnia disorder show impaired accuracy on the GFMT when compared with participants reporting normal sleep behaviour. In Experiment 2, we then used a sleep diary method to compare GFMT accuracy in a control group to participants reporting poor sleep on three consecutive nights—and again found lower accuracy scores in the short sleep group. In both experiments, reduced face-matching accuracy in those with poorer sleep was not associated with lower confidence in their decisions, carrying implications for occupational settings where identification errors made with high confidence can have serious outcomes. These results suggest that sleep-related impairments in face memory reflect difficulties in perceptual encoding of identity, and point towards metacognitive impairment in face matching following poor sleep.

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