Acute effects of alcohol on executive cognitive functioning domain specificity
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Acute effects of alcohol on Executive Cognitive Functioning: Domain specificity. Brandon A. Durant PI: Bruce D. Bartholow MU Social Cognitive Neuroscience. Background. Alcohol effects on social behavior linked to impaired cognition Aggression, sexual risk-taking, etc.

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Acute effects of alcohol on Executive Cognitive Functioning: Domain specificity

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Acute effects of alcohol on executive cognitive functioning domain specificity

Acute effects of alcohol on Executive Cognitive Functioning: Domain specificity

Brandon A. Durant

PI: Bruce D. Bartholow

MU Social Cognitive Neuroscience


Background

Background

  • Alcohol effects on social behavior linked to impaired cognition

    • Aggression, sexual risk-taking, etc.

  • Executive Cognitive Functioning (ECF)

    • “a higher order cognitive construct involved in the planning, initiation, and regulation of goal-directed behavior”

    • Impairment of ECF directly mediates alcohol-related changes in social behaviors (Giancola, 2000)


Inconsistency

Inconsistency

  • Some studies suggest that alcohol impairs some aspects of ECF; others say ECF impaired while leaving other cognitive abilities intact (Hoaken et al., 1998)

  • Could be a function of specific tasks/abilities being tested

    • Most consistent impairment observed with inhibition (e.g., Fillmore & Vogel-Sprott, 1999, 2000)

    • Some tasks arguably tap multiple ECF components; some might be more sensitive to alcohol than others


Hypotheses

Hypotheses

  • Alcohol will impair performance on tasks designed to measure inhibition

    • Stroop, Antisaccade

  • Performance on a “complex” ECF task, thought to involve multiple aspects of ECF, will be less affected by alcohol

    • Trails-making test, version B


Trail making test version b

Trail Making Test (Version B)


Antisaccade

Antisaccade

7


Stroop

Stroop

Incongruent

Congruent

Green

Blue


Method

Method

  • 171 participants

    • Age range: 21-34 (mean= 23.5)

    • 53% male; 93% Caucasian

  • Initial baseline session including:

    • 9 “specific” EF tasks (3 tasks measuring each of 3 abilities); 2 “complex” EF tasks; brief psychiatric history; various questionnaire measures

  • Second session (7-21 days later), randomly assigned to beverage and BAC limb conditions

    • Alcohol (target BAC = .09%), Placebo, or Control

    • BAC limb = A/D or D only

    • Ps complete 3 inhibition tasks and 2 complex tasks again


Alcohol impairs stroop accuracy descending limb

Alcohol impairs Stroop accuracy (descending limb)

F(2, 74) = 4.60, p = .01


Alcohol impairs antisaccade performance

Alcohol impairs antisaccade performance

F(4, 140) = 3.92, p < .01


Alcohol did not significantly impair trails b

Alcohol did not (significantly) impair Trails-B

  • Sober: F(5, 166) = 0.79, p > .05, ns

  • Ascending: F(2, 86) = 0.57, p > .05, ns

  • Descending: F(5, 166) = 1.99, p = .10


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Alcohol impaired inhibition task performance

    • At least for Stroop and Antisaccade

  • Alcohol did not significantly affect Trails B completion time

    • May be impaired on one cognitive ability, but other cognitive abilities make up for that impairment (Tracy & Bates, 1994)

    • A task designed to assess frontal brain damage may not be highly sensitive to impairing effects of alcohol


Future directions

Future directions

  • Examine other ECF task results

    • Experiments 2 and 3 will focus on Shifting and Updating, respectively

  • Examine potential moderation as a function of baseline ECF abilities, previous drinking experience

    • People with good sober (baseline) performance could be protected from the effects of alcohol (i.e., “more to lose;” Sher et al., 2007)

    • Heavy drinkers could show differential impairment compared with lighter drinkers


References

References

  • Giancola, P. R. (2000). Executive functioning: A conceptual framework for alcohol-related aggression. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 8, 576-597.

  • Giancola, P. R., Zeichner, A., Yarnell, J., & Dickson, K. (1996). Relation between executive cognitive functioning and the adverse consequences of alcohol use in social drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 20, 1094-1098.

  • Hoaken, P., Giancola, P., & Pihl, R. O. (1998). Executive cognitive functions as mediators of alcohol-related aggression. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 33, 47-54.

  • National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2001). Traffic Safety Facts 2001. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT HS 809 476). Washington, DC: Author.

  • Pihl, R. O., Assad, J. M., & Hoaken, P. N. S. (2003). The alcohol-aggression relationship and differential sensitivity to alcohol. Aggressive Behavior, 29, 302-315.

  • Sher, K. J., Bartholow, B. D., Peuser, K., Erickson, D., & Wood, M. D. (2007). Stress-response dampening effects of alcohol: Attention as a mediator and moderator. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 362-377.

  • Tracy, J.I., & Bates, M.E. (1994). Models of functional organization as a method for detecting cognitive deficits: Data from a sample of social drinkers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 55, 726-738.


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