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PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age

This page was last modified on February 28, 2023
Today's and next Monday's classes will look at the Impact of Techno-Digital Media on Human Cognition & Mental Activity

Class 13: The Neuropsychology of Media • I • The Impact of Light (Outline)

A. Circadian Rhythm

SCNVisible light

24-hour human melatonin cycle

B. Sleep in Post-Industrial Societies
  • Post-Industrial Societies: Services > Goods
  • Sleep is monophasic (6-8 hours)
  • Alternating NREM (Non-REM) and REM (rapid eye movement) periods of sleep
  • NREM longer in 1st half; REM longer in 2nd half
  • Sleep needed for immune function, efficient metabolism, cell maintenance and repair, memory consolidation, creativity & innovation, and emotional regulation
  • Chronic sleep deprivation and/or disruption in circadian rhythms => obesity, hypertension, immune system dysfunction

C. Before the 19th Century & the Industrial Revolution in Europe: A World of Extended Darkness

Human Evolution & Light

1. Nighttime before the Industrial Revolution in Europe

A traveller attacked at night  historical homicide rates in Europe

  • The night was populated by "fear, fire, and Satan" (Refford, 2009, p. 780)

  • If daylight was the time of goodness and God, the night was the time of evil and the Devil

  • In a world of streets that had little or no light, the chance of crime increased. Higher levels of drunkenness, violence, and murder.

  • What was available to the ordinary family who had shut themselves into their homes?

2. "Segmented" or "Biphasic  or Divided Sleep" in
Pre-Industrial Societies

   Day & Night   
Flexible sleep patterns

3. Changes brought by the Industrial Revolution & Techno-Digital Culture
  • Indoor Lighting (Pauley, 2004)
Lighting types
  • Shiftwork {W} & health problems
Notch filter

  • Transatlantic Travel {W} & Jetlag

time zones

Crossing the Atlantic

  • Social Jetlag
Social jetlag

  • Entertainment & Communication Media & Light
Blue light effects on melatonin


This page was first posted on 2/24/14