The effects of a modest dose of alcohol on executive functioning and prospective memory

Montgomery, C.; Ashmore, K.V. and Jansari, Ashok S.. 2011. The effects of a modest dose of alcohol on executive functioning and prospective memory. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 26(3), pp. 208-215. ISSN 0885-6222 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Rationale Acute alcohol intoxication selectively impairs executive functioning and prospective memory (PM). Much previous researches in this area have used laboratory-based tasks that may not mimic functions that individuals with dysexecutive syndrome have problems with in their everyday life. The present study aimed to assess the effects of a modest dose of alcohol on executive functioning and PM using a virtual reality task and investigate the role of executive planning in PM performance. Methods Forty healthy participants were administered 0.4 g/kg alcohol or matched placebo in a double-blind design. Executive function and PM were assessed using the Jansari–Agnew–Akesson–Murphy (JAAM) task, requiring participants to play the role of an office worker. Results Alcohol intoxication selectively impaired executive function and PM. The participants in the alcohol condition performed worse on the planning, prioritisation, creativity and adaptability executive subscales and also on the time-based and event-based PM tasks. However, alcohol did not impair the selection executive function task or the action-based PM task. Conclusions The results provide further support for the effects of alcohol on executive functioning and PM. In addition, the results suggest that such deficits may be present at relatively modest doses of alcohol and in the absence of a subjective feeling of intoxication.

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alcohol;executive functioning;prospective memory;virtual reality;memory

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April 2011Published

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Date Deposited:

19 Jan 2015 11:36

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:05

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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