Date of Defense

4-15-2020

Date of Graduation

4-2020

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Susan Caulfield

Second Advisor

John Jellies

Abstract

Memory is an important aspect of higher cognitive function that is vital to survivability and an ability for humans to interact with the environment. In the last half century there has been a spike in technological advancement. Today over 80% of the human population and 99% of those residing in the United States or European countries experience a high degree of light exposure (Cinzano et al., 2001). Light fixtures, computers, smart phones, and technology that emit their own artificial light are built with light emitting diodes (LEDs) that are responsible for the artificial light that is produced. Although there are many environmental and physiological influences on human learning and memory, light is known to have an impact on sensory systems across phyla, including human brain function. Thus, the question is how technology, and more specifically, artificial light affects memory consolidation. By exploring this question, one might learn more about the more general effects of artificial light on human physiology. Memory can be subdivided into two important subclasses, declarative memory and non-declarative memory. Declarative memory encompasses memory that requires effort for retrieval, such as facts and experiences. Non-declarative memory encompasses habitual interactions and behavior that does not require effort to retrieve (Curran & Morgan, 2014; Lum et al., 2012). The present study had individuals exposed to a light environment for a given amount of time and then they were asked to perform a non-declarative task, mirror drawing. The data were then compiled and analyzed, and it was found that those exposed to blue light and white light had consolidated the non-declarative memory task better than those exposed to amber light.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until

1-20-2021

Available for download on Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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