Attentional effects of single dose triazolam

Cameron S Carter, Richard J Maddock, Mark Chaderjian, Robert Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


1. While the effects of benzodiazepines on human memory have been extensively studied little is known about the effects of these agents on attentional processes. The authors studied the : effects of a single dose of triazolam on selective visual-spatial attention using a double blind, placebo controlled design. 2. In each of 2 sessions 12 normal volunteers ingested either 0.25 mg of triazolam or placebo. Attentional performance was evaluated using two versions of the covert orienting paradigm which measured automatic (exogenous) and controlled (endogenous) aspects of attentional orienting, respectively. 3. Triazolam selectively modified performance on automatic orienting to exogenous cues. Specifically, triazolam increased the facilitation of target detection seen at shorter (150 msec) SOA's. This may indicate an increase in facilitation and a reduction in inhibition or a slowing of the time course of the biphasic attentional effect normally resulting from exogenous cuing. 4. These results indicate the importance of using experimental paradigms which effectively dissociate endogenous and exogenous mechanisms of spatial orienting in studies evaluating the effects of pharmacological agents on visual-spatial attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Attention
  • Benzodiazepines
  • GABA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology


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