Multisensory Stop Signals Can Reduce the Disinhibiting Effects of Alcohol in Adults

Walter Roberts, Ramey G. Monem, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Alcohol impairs drinkers' abilities to inhibit inappropriate responses. Certain stimulus conditions have been shown to facilitate behavioral control. Under conditions where individuals are presented with multiple inhibitory signals, the speed and consistency with which they are able to inhibit a response is improved. Recent research has shown that multisensory signals might protect against the disruptive effects of alcohol on mechanisms of behavioral control. This study examined whether multisensory stop signals can be used to improve inhibitory control, possibly by speeding attentional shifts toward inhibitory "stop" signals in the environment. Methods: Twenty adult social drinkers performed a modified cued go/no-go task that measured the ability to inhibit prepotent responses following 0.64 g/kg alcohol and placebo. Response targets were presented as unimodal (visual) and as multisensory (visual + aural) stimuli. Results: Results showed that during unimodal response target trials, participants made more inhibitory failures under 0.64 g/kg alcohol compared to placebo. During multisensory trials, however, there was no significant effect of alcohol on inhibitory control. Conclusions: These findings identify multisensory inhibitory signals as a potentially important environmental factor that can reduce the degree to which alcohol disinhibits behavior possibly by intersensory co-activation between the visual and auditory pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-598
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant R01AA018274 and F31AA022263.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Research Society on Alcoholism.


  • Acute Alcohol Effects
  • Cued Go/No-Go Task
  • Inhibitory Control
  • Multisensory Processing
  • Redundant Signal Effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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