Alcohol and volitional control on affect/sensation, cognitive and perceptual-motor measures

Stephen A. Maisto, Gerard J. Connors, Carol Ruff, Donnie Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the hypothesis that one factor underlying the effects of non-pharrnacological variables on a given response to alcohol is the ability to exert control over that behaviour while intoxicated. Subjects were 54 male non-alcoholic drinkers who were randomly assigned to one of six independent groups created by the factorial combination of the independent variables dose (placebo, low, or moderate) and instructions (no instructions or 'act sober'). The main dependent measures were cognitive and motor task performance and self-reported affect and physiological sensations. Results showed that alcohol strongly influenced motor performance and self-reported physiological sensations but had only minor effects on affect and cognitive performance. Subjects who consumed the low dose of alcohol were able to counteract only alcohol's effects on reaction time and feelings of egotism. Despite the overall strong effects of alcohol on their behaviour, subjects in the act sober condi tions perceived that they were able to counteract the drug's effects, and this resul t was most pronounced among subjects who drank the low dose of alcohol. The implications of these findings for the effects of non-pharmacological factors on responses to alcohol and for the prevention and treatment of alcohol problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychological Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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