Cognitive implications of early alcohol consumption

Hunt, Frances, Townshend, Julia, Milani, Raffaella Margherita ORCID: and Griffin, Alison (2013) Cognitive implications of early alcohol consumption. In: BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections Joint Conference 2013, 04-06 Sept 2013, Reading, UK.

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The developing brain is vulnerable to the effects of alcohol consumption which can negatively impact on cognitive processes (Alfonso-Loeches & Guerri, 2011). The aim of this study was to examine recall of emotional words and recognition of emotional faces in relation to first reported intoxication experience. Participants were N= 93 social drinkers (44 males) where sex (male vs. female) and ‘age-of-first-intoxication’ were a between-subject factors (age-group 12-14 (N= 29, 15 males), age 15-17 (N = 47, 20 males) and age 18-21 (N = 17, 9 males)). Memory for emotional words was examined using a free recall task in a 3x2x3 mixed design where type-of-word (positive, negative, neutral) was a within-subject factor. There was a main effect for type-of-words with negative words being less well recalled than either positive or neutral words. There was a significant interaction between ‘age-of-first-intoxication’ and sex: males age-group 15-17 had the poorest recall, whereas in females it was age-group 18-21 with lowest recall. Face recognition was tested in a 3x2x4 mixed design where facial-expression (sad, happy, fearful, neutral) was a within-subject factor. Participants were asked to recognise previously seen faces from a larger set of images. There was a significant main effect for facial-expression with highest recall for fearful faces and lowest recall for sad faces. There was a significant interaction between facial-expression, sex and age-of-first-intoxication. The male age-group 12-14 recognised fewer sad faces, but conversely more fearful faces, whereas the same pattern was shown in the female age-group 18-21. The findings in respect of ‘age-of-first-intoxication’ were not as predicted. Particularly with females where it was the older age group had the poorer performance. One possible explanation is that this could relate the age at which individuals start to drink to excess on a regular basis.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: Psychology
Depositing User: Frances Hunt
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 09:11
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:07

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