, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 88–92 | Cite as

The alcohol facilitation effect on memory: A dose-response study

  • Elizabeth S. Parker
  • John M. Morihisa
  • Richard Jed Wyatt
  • Barbara L. Schwartz
  • Herbert Weingartner
  • Richard C. Stillman
Original Investigations


Sixteen normal male subjects participated in four sessions where they studied a set of pictures followed by either placebo, 0.025, 0.50, or 1.0 ml/kg alcohol. Later, when sober, recognition memory was tested. These doses resulted in peak blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.00, 0.018, 0.034, and 0.067 g/100 ml, respectively. The 1.0 and 0.50 ml/kg doses significantly improved memory for pictures studied before drinking. Alcohol appears to enhance memory directly rather than indirectly via a reduction in interference. It is suggested that a particular phase of the rising blood alcohol curve (0.02–0.03 g/100 ml) facilitates trace consolidation. The facilitating and possibly excitatory effects of alcohol may be important for understanding the rewarding aspects of drinking.

Key words

Alcohol (ethanol) Memory facilitation Consolidation Human memory 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth S. Parker
    • 1
  • John M. Morihisa
    • 2
  • Richard Jed Wyatt
    • 2
  • Barbara L. Schwartz
    • 1
  • Herbert Weingartner
    • 3
  • Richard C. Stillman
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Clinical StudiesNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismBethesdaU.S.A.
  2. 2.Adult Psychiatry BranchNational Institute of Mental HealthWashington, District of ColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.LPP-NIMHNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaU.S.A.
  4. 4.Alcohol and Drug Dependence Treatment ProgramsMartinez Veterans Administration Medical CenterMartinezU.S.A.

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