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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth S. Parker.

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Parker, E.S., Morihisa, J.M., Wyatt, R.J. et al. The alcohol facilitation effect on memory: A dose-response study. Psychopharmacology 74, 88–92 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00431763

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Key words

  • Alcohol (ethanol)
  • Memory facilitation
  • Consolidation
  • Human memory