Second international School On Mind, Brain And Education

2007, May 22-26

Basic and Applied Topics
in Biological Rhythms and Learning

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Víctor Ortiz

A new synchronizer exposure test developed by chronobiology students
The Horne and Ostbërg test evaluates the morningness-eveningness in human circadian rhythms, that is, the phasing of the circadian system. The aim of the present work was to develop a test to evaluate synchronizer exposure regularity. In addition, this test was developed by a chronobiology student (A. Martínez-Nicolás) under the professor supervision. At the University of Murcia Medical School, Chronobiology is a one-term course that is taught in the second year. A total of 61 volunteer students (xx women and xx men) from 22 to 25 yr old took part in the experiment. The test consists of 45 questions, divided in 6 sections: social contacts, sleep-wake cycle regularity, meal timetable, physical activity regularity, environmental synchronizers and subjective rhythm regularity perception. Score per item was established a priori by this “junior” research group.
In addition the volunteers completed a sleep/wake cycle and meal time diary for two weeks and performed the Horne-Ostbërg test. Peripheral temperature (iButtom®, Thermochron) at wrist level (non dominant hand), was registered in 31 students during 14 days.
Each section score was correlated with an objective stability measure as that provided by the Rayleigh test for those parameters monitored during the study. So, the sleep wake cycle section score was correlated with the r vector for sleep centre deviation, meal timetable score with meals diary, and so on. The test was corrected after evaluating how each question contributed to the section score, and how the section weighted to the final punctuation. Finally the test score was correlated with peripheral temperature.
Our preliminary results forecast the reliability of the test to evaluate synchronizing exposure and provides useful information to add to that obtain from the Horne-Ostbërg test. In addition, and taking into account that the students have developed, and are trying to validate, themselves the test, their motivation to learn Chronobiology and to study in depth the tools for time serial analyses is increased.