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Subjective and objective effects of alcohol as functions of dosage and time

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Eight male subjects were studied during a five-hour period following three different doses of a) 0.33, b) 0.44, and c) 0.66 g alcohol per kg body weight.

The main dependent variables of the investigation were 1. blood alcohol concentration, 2. self-estimated degree of intoxication, and 3. observed degree of intoxication. The subjective scales were obtained by the method of magnitude estimation. Corresponding curves of self-estimated and observed degree of intoxication were in very close agreement. In most respects the subjective estimation curves also showed a far-reaching agreement with the corresponding blood alcohol curves: a fast intitial growth followed by an essentially linear decline. The rate of decline of the subjective curves was, however, much faster.

In addition to these principal data, 4. self-estimates of certain mood variables were obtained, and 5. two objective performance tests were administered. Nearly all curves obtained in the experiments showed a maximal effect about 30–50 min after alcohol intake. The subjective variables, and particularly those related to general intoxication, were on the whole more affected by alcohol than were the performance variables.

The results of the present investigation with three doses of alcohol substantiate and widen the conclusions based on a previous study with a single moderate dose.

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This investigation was supported by research grants from the Swedish Council for Social Science Research (G. E., M. F.) and from the Alcohol Committee of the Swedish Council for Medical Research (L. G.).

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Ekman, G., Frankenhaeuser, M., Goldberg, L. et al. Subjective and objective effects of alcohol as functions of dosage and time. Psychopharmacologia 6, 399–409 (1964). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00429567

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  • Magnitude Estimation
  • Performance Test
  • Alcohol Concentration
  • Objective Performance
  • Moderate Dose