Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Monique K. LeBourgeois, Ph.D, Department of Integrative Physiology

Second Advisor

John Harsh, Ph.D, Department of Integrative Physiology

Third Advisor

Alena M. Grabowski, Ph.D, Department of Integrative Physiology

Fourth Advisor

Lameese D. Akacem, Ph.D, Department of Integrative Physiology


Chronotype, an individual’s propensity and preference for sleep and wakefulness behavior, has been shown in numerous studies to be importantly related to high school and college student success. Students who are “larks” generally have peak alertness in the morning and perform better in morning classes. Students who are “owls” struggle to maintain alertness in morning classes and perform better in afternoon classes. This project extends this chronotype research by investigating the relationship between chronotype and performance in the Integrative Physiology Department’s Human Anatomy Laboratory course which has sections offered at different times throughout the day. The study design was cross-sectional. Our participants were University of Colorado at Boulder college students enrolled in the Human Anatomy Laboratory (n=123, 20.7 ± 1.1 years of age). Chronotype was assessed using the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire (MCTQ). Participants also recorded their student identification number, age, current (incoming) GPA, attendance (number of days skipped), and number of enrolled credits for the Fall 2017 semester. Analysis of variance for total points earned during the semester yielded an interaction between Chronotype (Owls vs. Larks) and Time of Day (Morning, Afternoon, and Late Afternoon/Evening). In Afternoon classes, the mean score for Larks was significantly higher than for Owls. This finding suggests that chronotype may meaningfully moderate the relationship between time of day and performance in the Human Anatomy Laboratory and that students should be encouraged to take a section of this class at a time of day that matches with their chronotype.