Alcohol Slows Reaction Times, Ups Errors

HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 20 (UPI) — Certain parts of the brain are significantly affected by alcohol increasing reaction time and errors during decision-making, U.S. researchers say.

Beth Anderson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Centre at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and colleagues gave 38 volunteers different doses of alcohol to establish a breath alcohol concentration of zero for the control group, 0.5 percent for moderate intoxication or 0.1 percent for a high level.


Once the alcohol was taken, the volunteers participated in a Go/No-Go reaction test, where either the letters “K” or “X” were displayed on a screen with specific instructions to only press a button when an “X” was displayed.

There were no significant findings between those who drank no alcohol and moderate intoxication, but those who received the highest level of alcohol had an increased reaction time, more errors and an overall decrease of successful trials.

“The increased reaction time was likely an attempt to compensate for their impairment. They may have slowed down in an attempt to keep from making more errors,” Anderson says in a statement.

The findings are published online ahead of print in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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