Behavioral effects of alcohol in novice and experienced drinkers: alcohol expectancies and impairment

M. T. Fillmore, M. Vogel-Sprott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the relation between an individual's expected and actual impairment under alcohol develops as a function of drinking experience. Fourteen early stage, novice (N) and 14 experienced (E) male social drinkers participated in the research. Group N had been drinking for 20 months or less (mean =8.1 months). Group E subjects had been drinkers for 24 or more (mean =42.7 months). All subjects practised a task that measured psychomotor skill (pursuit rotor) and rated the degree to which alcohol was expected to impair their performance on the task. Half of the subjects in each group then performed the task under alcohol (0.56 g/kg). The remainder served as controls and received no beverage prior to performing the task. In accord with the hypothesis, experienced drinkers who expected more impairment performed more poorly under alcohol, whereas novice drinkers' expected and actual impairment were not related. In addition, when novice and experienced drinkers received no beverage, their expectations were unrelated to their drug-free performance. Thus alcohol expectancies were not relevant to performance in a non-drinking situation. These findings contribute new information identifying drinking history as an important factor strengthening the relationship between expectations about the effect of alcohol and behavior under the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • Alcohol
  • Drinking experience
  • Expectancy
  • Human

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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