Free recall of emotional words: patterns of alcohol intake and sex differences

Hunt, Frances, Townshend, Julia, Milani, Raffaella Margherita ORCID: and Griffin, Alison (2013) Free recall of emotional words: patterns of alcohol intake and sex differences. In: BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections Joint Conference 2013, 04-06 Sept 2013, Reading, UK.

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Binge drinking has been found to have potentially harmful consequences that have been reported to have an impact on cognitive performance during executive function tasks (Hartley, Elsabagh & File, 2004; Townshend & Duka, 2005). Furthermore, there appear to task dependent differences between males and females (Hartley et al., 2004; Townshend & Duka, 2005). The aim of this study was to investigate whether this extended to long-term memory for emotional words. N = 95 (50 female) social drinkers took part in a 2x2x3 mixed design quasi-experiment. The between-subject factors were Binge-Group (binge vs. non-binge) and Sex (male vs. female) while the within-subject factor was Word-Type (Positive, Negative, Neutral). Participants were shown lists of words containing equal numbers of the 3 word types. After a distractor activity, participants were asked to recall all the words they could remember in any order. Analysis revealed a significant main effect for Word-Type in which negative words were the least well recalled. There was a significant interaction between Sex and Binge-Group. Female binge drinkers performed better than female non-binge drinkers. Conversely, male binge drinkers recalled fewer words than non-binge drinking males. The difference between males and females might be because the overall level of alcohol consumption was higher in male binge drinkers than in females. While poorer performance of binge drinking males was as would be predicted, the better performance of binge drinking females is harder to explain. Whether this is an indication of a bias towards processing emotional words in binge drinking females needs further investigation. Given the differential effects on males and females it is difficult to ascribe causality to the alcohol consumption based on these results. It is equally plausible that there is a pre-existing deficit in processing information or certain bias’ that underlie binge drinking.

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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