The acute effects of alcohol on attention using the attention network test

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Shayma M. Khalil (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
David McCord

Abstract: The body of research on alcohol and its effects on the brain and human body is extensive. Recent advances in neuroimaging have lead to a better understanding of the underlying physiology of attention coupled with new innovations in methods to measure the construct, have made the pursuit of research on Attention even more accessible. Using the Attention Network Test (ANT), this study investigated the acute effects of alcohol on the three neuronal networks within the brain associated with attention: Alerting, Orienting, and Executive Control. Little is known about whether similar observations as those reported in the literature on the acute effects of alcohol on attention can be made using the ANT. College students (n=11) from the Western Carolina University Community were administered the ANT during three test sessions. The first session was a baseline assessment, followed by two sessions in which the participant received either a placebo or an active dose of alcohol (.6g/kg). Results indicate that a moderate dose of alcohol had no effect on Alerting or Orienting. However, this dose did impair individuals’ Executive Control. These results illustrate the relatively specific effect of a moderate dose of alcohol on frontally mediated Executive Control. These findings are especially important when we consider the many functions of the frontal cortex and the importance of Executive Control in complex human cognition and behavior.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Acute, Alcohol, Attention, Attention Networks
Alcohol -- Physiological effect
Cognition -- Effect of drugs on

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