Alcohol affects processing of ignored stimuli in a negative priming paradigm

Mark T. Fillmore, Mike J. Dixon, Tom A. Schweizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: This research examined the effect of alcohol on negative priming, which is considered to reflect a basic process of selective attention. Method: Male social drinkers (N = 28) performed a color naming reaction time (RT) task that measured negative priming. After a baseline test on the task, they received either 0.56 g/kg of alcohol or a placebo; they then performed the task twice. Results: In accord with the hypotheses, alcohol suppressed negative priming during the ascending limb but not during the descending limb of the blood alcohol curve. No suppression of negative priming was evident under placebo. Conclusions: The suppression of this process by alcohol may represent a basic mechanism by which the drug reduces the ability to efficiently allocate attention and leads to impaired performance on various attention-based tasks (e.g., divided attention and vigilance tasks).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-578
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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