Original Investigation


, Volume 201, Issue 3, pp 315-324

First online:

Individual differences in acute alcohol impairment of inhibitory control predict ad libitum alcohol consumption

  • Jessica WeaferAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Kentucky
  • , Mark T. FillmoreAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Kentucky Email author 

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Research has begun to examine how acute cognitive impairment from alcohol could contribute to alcohol abuse. Specifically, alcohol-induced impairment of inhibitory control could compromise the drinker’s ability to stop the self-administration of alcohol, increasing the risk of binge drinking.


The present study was designed to test this hypothesis by examining the relation between acute alcohol impairment of inhibitory control and alcohol consumption during a single drinking episode.

Materials and methods

Twenty-six healthy adults performed a cued go/no-go task that measured inhibitory control. The study tested the degree to which their inhibitory control was impaired by a moderate dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg) versus a placebo and the extent to which individual differences in this impairment predicted levels of alcohol consumption as assessed by ad lib drinking in the laboratory.


In accord with the hypothesis, greater impairment of inhibitory control from alcohol was associated with increased ad lib consumption.


Acute impairment of inhibitory control might be an important cognitive effect that contributes to abuse in addition to the positive rewarding effects of the drug.


Alcohol Inhibition Ad lib consumption Cued go/no-go task Neurocognitive mechanisms Abuse potential