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Information processing, neuropsychological function, and the inherited predisposition to alcoholism

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Abstract

Sons of male alcoholics are at particularly heightened risk for the development of alcoholism. This heightened risk frequently appears in association with increased incidence of conduct disorder or hyperactivity, with deficits in abstract thinking and poor school performance, with abnormalities in cued psychophysiological response, and with increased sensitivity to the putatively stress-response-dampening effects of alcohol intoxication. This risk and its associated features are discussed within the context of a neuropsychological theory, predicated on the notions (1) that deficits in cognitive functions theoretically dependent upon the intact functioning of the prefrontal cortex could underlie manifestation of the idiosyncracies commonly attributed to sons of male alcoholics, and (2) that acute alcohol intoxication could relieve the subjective discomfort associated with the consequences of such deficits.

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Peterson, J.B., Pihl, R.O. Information processing, neuropsychological function, and the inherited predisposition to alcoholism. Neuropsychol Rev 1, 343–369 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01109029

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Key words

  • alcoholism
  • heredity
  • neuropsychology
  • cognition
  • psychophysiology
  • conduct disorder
  • hyperactivity
  • alcohol intoxication