Acute alcohol effects on inhibitory control and implicit cognition: Implications for loss of control over drinking

Matt Field, Reinout W. Wiers, Paul Christiansen, Mark T. Fillmore, Joris C. Verster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations

Abstract

Alcohol impairs inhibitory control, and it alters implicit alcohol cognitions including attentional bias and implicit associations. These effects are seen after doses of alcohol which do not lead to global impairments in cognitive performance. We review studies which demonstrate that the effects of alcohol on inhibitory control are associated with the ability of alcohol to prime alcohol-seeking behavior. We also hypothesize that alcohol-induced changes in implicit alcohol cognitions may partially mediate alcohol-induced priming of the motivation to drink. Based on contemporary theoretical models and conceptualizations of executive function, impulsivity, and the motivational salience of alcohol-related cues, we speculate on other aspects of cognition that may underlie alcohol's effects on alcohol seeking. Inconsistencies in existing research and priorities for future research are highlighted, including dose effects and the potential interactions between chronic heavy drinking and the acute effects of alcohol on these cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1352
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume34
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Attentional Bias
  • Automatic Alcohol Associations
  • Inhibitory Control
  • Priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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