Original Investigations


, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 383-388

Dose dependent effects of alcohol on visual evoked potentials

  • Ian M. ColrainAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The University of Auckland
  • , Jill TaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Tasmania
  • , Stuart McLeanAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania
  • , Robert ButteryAffiliated withRoyal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
  • , Gordon WiseAffiliated withTasmanian Lions Eye Diagnostic Centre
  • , Iain MontgomeryAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Tasmania

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The effects of various alcohol doses on components of the visual evoked potential were investigated. Using a repeated measures, Latin square design, five alcohol dose conditions were administered to ten male subjects: 0.00 (placebo); 0.28; 0.36; 0.54 and 0.72 g/kg total body weight. EEG responses to a reversing checker board stimulus were measured in a standard oddball paradigm. In the alcohol conditions, latencies of the P1 and P2 components of the VEP were unaffected. However, reaction time, and the latencies of N2 and P3 displayed significant dose related increases with increasing blood alcohol levels. Further, RMS power of the P3 complex was reduced by higher alcohol doses, as was the N2-P3 amplitude difference at central and parietal sites. It is concluded that the latency and power of the endogenous components of the VEP are altered by alcohol, without effects being seen in earlier components.

Key words

Alcohol P3 P300 Visual evoked potential Reaction time