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

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
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 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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