Effects of alcohol on exogenous precueing of attention

Robert B. Post, Marc R. Chaderjian, Richard J Maddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Transient visual events cause a rapid allocation of attention to the event location. We studied the effect of alcohol on this aspect of attention. Method: Subjects responded to targets presented either left or right of fixation and the time between target presentation and response (reaction time: RT) was measured both before and after ingestion of either alcohol or a placebo. Transient cues were presented prior to each target presentation. Cues were, variously, a brightening of either the box in which the target was to occur ('valid'), the box on the opposite side of the display from where the target was to occur ('invalid') or the fixation stimulus ('neutral'). The interval between cue and target presentation (stimulus onset asynchrony: SOA) was variously 50, 100, 150 or 800 msecs. Results: At short SOAs, RT was faster to targets presented following valid cues relative to the other cues. At 800 msecs the opposite pattern was found. Alcohol selectively slowed RT only following neutral or invalid cues at short SOAs. Conclusions: Alcohol does not disrupt the normal attentional allocation to visual transients. It may delay the subsequent response to events at other locations, however.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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