studies can help indicated the neurological effects of sleep deprivation.
Also sleep loss has
been shown to affect neural activity (Habeck , 2004) which are known to be responsible
for emotional empathy.
The neurons system is
active when facing someone in an emotional situation and also while helping
them.This indicates that the neurons system is involved in emotion processiong and
regulation, (Carr , 2003), and also emotional
empathy (Jabbi, 2007).
In conclusion, all
studies previously explained provide evidence that sleep deprivation decreases
emotional empathy. All result in the different studies indicate that sleep loss
impairs the ability someone else emotions. Researchers explain those result by
the fact that sleep deprivation affect the prefontal cortex of the brain which
in return is responsible for the regulation, processing and recognition of
emotions. Moreover this relationship between emotional empathy and sleep
deprivation might be explained by the function of the neurons system with
In a different study
done by Gordon and Chen (2014), tested the effect of sleep deprivation on
conflict in romantic relationship. The results revealed that number of
conflicts after a night of sleep deprivation is superior to the number of
conflict after a night of full sleep.
Another study done by Van
der Helm (Van Der Helm, 2010) evaluated 37 healthy
volunteers, dividing them into two groups ,sleeping group and sleep deprivation
group . The test consisted of showing pictures of people with sad , happy or
angry emotions and the volunteers were asked to recognized the emotion on
people faces. The results revealed that sleep deprivation enable the
distinction of facial emotions more precisely angry and happy emotions.
These results are validated by other research indicating
negative effects of sleep deprivation on cognition and emotional processing more precisely emotional empathy.
The results showed that
volunteers affected by sleep deprivation express less direct and indirect
emotional empathy than those who had a full night sleep. The results revealed that
one night deprived of sleep enable the ability to share someone else emotions, which
is an indispensable asset in daily social interactions.
In her study, Guadani tested
the hypothesis “that a night of total sleep deprivation has a detrimental
effect on the capacity of the individuals to share other’s emotions” ( Guadagni,2014) (i.e. emotional empathy).
Graph representing the
scores for both direct and indirect emotional empathy for the three different
groups. (Guadagni, 2014)
After testing , the
results showed that the indirect emotional empathy of volunteers in the sleep
deprivation group, were dramatically lower than the volunteers the day and sleep groups As for direct emotional empathy , the results
were also lower in sleep deprivation group than in day and sleep group.
In each groups,
volunteers were shown 180 pictures and asked to answer the questions paired
with each pictures as fast as possible.
This test use 120 coloured images from the
International Affective Picture System (IAPS) (Lang and Bradley, 2007) showing people in positive,
negative and neutral situations. Each picture was paired with specific
questions that assess direct emotional empathy (i.e. ‘how strong is the emotion
you feel about this person?’) or indirect emotional empathy (i.e. ‘how
calm/aroused does this picture make you feel?’) ( Guadagni ,2014)
The test consist of a
modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET) (Dziobek , 2008), used to determine direct and indirect
In her study she
recruited 22 healthy females and 15 healthy males with no record of
neurological or psychiatric disorders. The 37 volunteers were divided into
three groups, “the sleep deprivation group (n=13), the sleep group (n = 12)
and the day group (n = 12)”. All volunteers in the
three different groups were tested two times. For the sleep deprivation group
they were tested at night 9 pm and at 8pm. For the sleep group they were tested
at 6pm and 10 am and finally for the day group they were tested at 10 am and 6
In 2014, a researcher named Veronica Guadani used
the emotional empathy test created by Dziobek (2008) to test the hypothesis
that “sleep deprivation results in a reduced emotional empathic response” (Guadani,
Emotional empathy has
been divided into two components by Dziobek into direct and indirect empathy. Direct
emotional empathy component is the evaluation of someone emotions while observing
someone else in distress (e.g. I worry that this person might get hurt).Indirect
emotional empathy component is the evaluation of physiological manifestations
of someone while observing someone else in distress (e.g. my heart is beating hard)
Recently, the effects of sleep deprivation on emotional processing and
emotional empathy have received more research interest, due to the correlation
between neurological and psychiatric disorders with sleep deprivation. This
suggests a relationship between sleep and the normal functioning of the brain.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else feelings,
thoughts and emotions, it is crucial in interpersonal relationships
(Shamay-Tsoory, 2011) and usually appears
when facing someone in distress.
Sleep deprivation have showed to have an
important effect on tasks controlled by the prefrontal cortex, PFC (Couyoumdjian,
The PFC is involved in emotion regulation (Ochsner, 2013),processing
of emotional information (Kahn, 2013),
recognition and categorization of human emotions, (Minkel, 2010)
and emotional empathy (Killgore, 2008).
All those tasks are used on daily basis and any dysfunction can lead to many conflicts.
studies have showed that sleep deprivation has a negative impact on emotion
processing (Kahn , 2013) and on more complex
emotion , such as empathy.
Sleep is essential for
human mental and physical health. It is regulated by our internal clock, the
circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm is a daily 24 hours cycle that
determines human sleeping patterns. It is regulated by the hypothalamus in the
brain but can also be affected by the environment more precisely by light and
darkness. Any changes in light/ darkness cycle can dramatically cause abnormalities
in our circadian rhythms and irregular circadian rhythms causes sleep deprivation (NIGS, 2017).
appears to affect human physical health and emotional state, both indispensable
for human wellbeing. More precisely sleep deprivation is known to affect the
prefrontal cortex which is responsible for recognition and processing of
emotions in particular emotional empathy. Emotional empathy is the ability to
understand and share someone else feeling and is crucial in our daily
interactions with others. Sleep loss is also one of the cause of many in
psychiatric and neurological disorders. By understanding the relationship
between sleep deprivation and emotional intelligence can help prevent many