Event-related Potential Correlates of Response Inhibition to Alcohol Cues Among College-Aged Binge Drinkers

Do college-age adults who binge drink have different brain responses to alcohol images?

Project Abstract

Binge drinking is the rapid consumption of alcohol over a short time period (e.g., 5 or more drinks in a 2 hour period). It is a common pattern of alcohol misuse and is a serious public-health concern. It has been demonstrated that alcoholics exhibit distinct neurophysiological responses to alcohol-related stimuli, but it is unclear if similar effects can be found in young, otherwise healthy binge drinkers. As such, we used event-related potentials (a noninvasive measure of the function of the cortex of the brain) to explore the neural correlates of cognitive control during an alcohol-cue processing task in healthy young adults with and without a history of binge drinking. We wanted to determine if young adults exhibit distinct cortical responses to images of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and if so, if this effect is larger in binge drinkers. We also wanted to determine if the magnitude of cortical responses to alcoholic images was related to other personality and behavioral variables associated with risky alcohol use.

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