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Drinking and Cognitive Control

Title: Drinking and Cognitive Control: Evidence That Acute Alcohol Intoxication Impairs Performance Through Its Effect on Two Distinct Cognitive Processes.
Name(s): Casbon, Todd S., author
Lang, Alan R., professor directing dissertation
Orcutt, James D., outside committee member
Scheffers, Marten K., committee member
Taylor, Jeanette, committee member
Zwaan, Rolf A., committee member
Department of Psychology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2004
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Numerous laboratory analogue studies have demonstrated alcohol-induced increases in perseverative commission errors in cognitive tasks requiring shifts between prepotent behavioral response sets and modified task demands that require inhibition of previously established reactions. Although uncertainty remains regarding the cognitive mechanisms underlying these effects, data from previous research suggest that alcohol-induced commission errors occurring in cognitively complex contexts may result from failures in either of two processes involved in cognitive control: (a) response inhibition or (b) evaluation of contextual information necessary to guide appropriate responding. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of alcohol on the frequency of two distinct commission error subtypes (viz., fast errors labeled as premature response errors or slow errors labeled as context processing errors) each reflecting a failure in one of the two cognitive control processes. Thirty-two participants (16 male), age 21 or older, were recruited for participation from introductory psychology classes and via campus fliers at Florida State University. After random assignment to an alcohol or no-alcohol beverage condition, participants engaged in a working memory task which was designed to place significant demands on both the response inhibition and context processing aspects of cognitive control. Reaction time data were used to identify fast and slow commission errors. Concurrent validation of the distinction between these two types of errors was pursued using event-related brain potentials (i.e., P300 and ERN) to examine different patterns of brain activity theoretically associated with each error type. P300 data provided strong support for two unique error types, whereas ERN was not helpful in distinguishing the two types of error. As expected, alcohol significantly increased the frequency of both error types. In addition, a significant Beverage Group X Error Type interaction indicated that alcohol's influence was more pronounced for fast errors than for slow ones. P300 data were also consistent with a greater reduction in processing of contextual stimuli on fast errors among intoxicated participants compared to their sober counterparts. Overall, results indicated that alcohol can produce dysregulated behavior through impairments in multiple cognitive pathways which may depend upon the contextual processing demands present in the drinker's environment.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4100 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2004.
Date of Defense: June 18, 2004.
Keywords: Context Processing, Commission Error Subtypes, Behavioral Dysregulation, Prepotent Responses, Impulsivity, Perseveration, Event-Related Brain Potentials, P300, ERN, Response Inhibition, Cognitive Control, Acute Alcohol Intoxication
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Alan R. Lang, Professor Directing Dissertation; James D. Orcutt, Outside Committee Member; Marten K. Scheffers, Committee Member; Jeanette Taylor, Committee Member; Rolf A. Zwaan, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Casbon, T. S. (2004). Drinking and Cognitive Control: Evidence That Acute Alcohol Intoxication Impairs Performance Through Its Effect on Two Distinct Cognitive Processes. Retrieved from