Alcohol-induced impairment of behavioral control: Differential effects on engaging vs. disengaging responses

Cecile A. Marczinski, Ben D. Abroms, Mark Van Selst, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rationale: Model-based assessments of behavioral control have been used to study the acute effects of alcohol on the ability to execute and inhibit behavioral responses. Response inhibition appears more vulnerable to the impairing effects of alcohol than response execution. Current information processing models have yet to account for this observation. Objectives: The present study used a reductionist approach to determine if the particular vulnerability of response inhibition to the effects of alcohol occurs at the level of the action (motor program). The study examined the effects of alcohol on the ability to execute and inhibit behavior in a context in which preliminary information signaled the likelihood that a response should be executed or suppressed. The engagement and disengagement of responses were directly compared under alcohol. Methods: Adults (N=24) performed a cued go/no-go task that required quick responses to go targets and suppression of responses to no-go targets. Response requirements were manipulated by varying the nature of the action required whereby half of the participants made key press responses (response engagement) and the other half released ongoing key presses (response disengagement). Performance was tested under three doses of alcohol: 0.00, 0.45, and 0.65 g/kg. Results: Dose-dependent increases in commission errors were only observed with response engagement and not with response disengagement. Reaction times were faster for response engagement than response disengagement. Conclusions: Response disengagement affords some protection against alcohol-induced impairment of inhibition, indicating that not all aspects of motor processing requiring inhibition are equally impaired by alcohol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-459
Number of pages8
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume182
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research was supported by Grant R01 AA12895 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Keywords

  • Activation
  • Alcohol
  • Behavioral control
  • Disengage
  • Engage
  • Impulsivity
  • Inhibition
  • Key press
  • Key release
  • Response execution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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