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Boosting problem-solving with a Siesta – Preliminary analysis of a replication study of the role of sleep on videogame based problem-solving


Sleep is fundamental for memory consolidation. Besides quantitative changes, sleep is thought to promote qualitative changes on memory by means of an active system consolidation process. The sleep effect on problem solving supports this hypothesis.


To replicate the effect of sleep on a videogame based problem-solving task with a siesta protocol.


30 university students (20♀) participated. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: Siesta or Wake. As soon as subjects arrived at the laboratory, they filled up a sleep habits questionnaire, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and were prepared for a simplified polysomnography recording. EMG, EOG were recorded as standard, and EEG was recorded from C3 and C4 using an OpenBci amplifier. Following, began the practicing session playing the 3D-virtual maze videogame until being challenged by a non-solvable problem. Subjects who did not solve this challenge within 10min were assigned for the Wake or Siesta conditions with 90min of incubation interval. After the incubation interval subjects had another opportunity to solve the same challenging problem. Frequency of subjects who solved the problem where compared with X2-square and Student’s t test were applied to test control variables between groups.


We are presenting here preliminary results from behavioral data. From the Siesta group 13 (76%) out of 17 subjects were able to solve the challenging problem while 2 (16%) out of 12 from the Wake group solved it (X2=10.07; p=0.002, with a strong with an effect size of Phi=0.59). Groups were compatible according to the sex distribution, 12 and 8 females respectively at the Siesta and Wake groups (p=1.0), age (Siesta 23.116.5; Wake 21.583.8; p=0.47) and sleep duration on weekdays (Siesta 458.8866.39min; Wake 444.1649.67min; p=0.51), however, subjects from the Siesta group presented higher scores for ESS (Siesta 11.53.43; Wake 7.752.63; p=0.003). To check for another possible confounding factors, we compared subjects from the Siesta group who solved the problem with the ones who did not solve it. No significant difference was found.


A siesta increases the chance to solve a videogame based visuospatial problem. This study replicates previous findings and raises support to the role of sleep on promoting qualitative changes on memories. Further analysis must evaluate electrophysiological aspects of sleep for a better understanding.


learning; memory; creative solutions; sleep.


Área Básica


Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul - Parana - Brasil


Regiane Lepechacki Balsanello, Sandiéli Bianchin, Felipe Beijamini