According to the study, morning persons demonstrate a quicker reaction time when solving unusual attention-related tasks when working at night, but are more prone to make errors.
This may be the result of sleep deprivation and a relative increase in the time spent awake which negatively impacts the brain’s attention system, the researchers said.
The study showed that morning persons completed their tasks quicker than the night persons, but with errors.
On the contrary, night persons were found to spend more time finishing than tasks. But, their level of accuracy in completing the task was higher, the researcher noted.
“To deal with the most difficult test — resolving a conflict of attention — it was necessary not only to concentrate on the main visual stimulus, but at the same time to ignore accompanying stimulus that distract from the core task,” said Andriy Myachykov from Oxford University.
Though night people turned out to be slower, they were more efficient compared to the early risers.
“Our study demonstrated how night owls working late at night ‘sacrifice’ speed for accuracy,” Myachykov added.
The results of this study may be useful for people who work night shift and could challenge the education system and human resources management in certain areas.
For pilots, air traffic controllers, drivers, etc., attention, the ability to deal with large sets of data, and reaction time are all very important. During emergencies, these features could play a vital role.
The study is available in the journal Experimental Brain Research.