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Keywords:

  • daytime nap;
  • error monitoring;
  • error negativity/error-related negativity;
  • error positivity;
  • sleep inertia

Summary

Performance monitoring is an essential function involved in the correction of errors. Deterioration of this function may result in serious accidents. This function is reflected in two event-related potential (ERP) components that occur after erroneous responses, specifically the error-related negativity/error negativity (ERN/Ne) and error positivity (Pe). The ERN/Ne is thought to be associated with error detection, while the Pe is thought to reflect motivational significance or recognition of errors. Using these ERP components, some studies have shown that sleepiness resulting from extended wakefulness may cause a decline in error-monitoring function. However, the effects of sleep inertia have not yet been explored. In this study, we examined the effects of sleep inertia immediately after a 1-h daytime nap on error-monitoring function as expressed through the ERN/Ne and Pe. Nine healthy young adults participated in two different experimental conditions (nap and rest). Participants performed the arrow-orientation task before and immediately after a 1-h nap or rest period. Immediately after the nap, participants reported an increased effort to perform the task and tended to estimate their performance as better, despite no objective difference in actual performance between the two conditions. ERN/Ne amplitude showed no difference between the conditions; however, the amplitude of the Pe was reduced following the nap. These results suggest that individuals can detect their own error responses, but the motivational significance ascribed to these errors might be diminished during the sleep inertia experienced after a 1-h nap. This decline might lead to overestimation of their performance.