Individual differences in acute alcohol impairment of inhibitory control predict ad libitum alcohol consumption

Jessica Weafer, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Rationale: Research has begun to examine how acute cognitive impairment from alcohol could contribute to alcohol abuse. Specifically, alcohol-induced impairment of inhibitory control could compromise the drinker's ability to stop the self-administration of alcohol, increasing the risk of binge drinking. Objective: The present study was designed to test this hypothesis by examining the relation between acute alcohol impairment of inhibitory control and alcohol consumption during a single drinking episode. Materials and methods: Twenty-six healthy adults performed a cued go/no-go task that measured inhibitory control. The study tested the degree to which their inhibitory control was impaired by a moderate dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg) versus a placebo and the extent to which individual differences in this impairment predicted levels of alcohol consumption as assessed by ad lib drinking in the laboratory. Results: In accord with the hypothesis, greater impairment of inhibitory control from alcohol was associated with increased ad lib consumption. Conclusion: Acute impairment of inhibitory control might be an important cognitive effect that contributes to abuse in addition to the positive rewarding effects of the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement This research was supported by grant R21 DA021027 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and by grant R01 AA12895 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


  • Abuse potential
  • Ad lib consumption
  • Alcohol
  • Cued go/no-go task
  • Inhibition
  • Neurocognitive mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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