Alcohol and false recognition: A dose-effect study

M. Z. Mintzer, R. R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Rationale: The pattern of acute memory impairment produced by alcohol is similar to that produced by the benzodiazepines. However, in contrast to demonstrations that benzodiazepines decrease false recognition rates, results of a recent study suggest that a low dose of alcohol increases false recognition rates; false recognition refers to the phenomenon of mistakenly claiming that one has been exposed previously to a novel item. Objective: This study was designed to examine the acute dose-effects of alcohol on false recognition. Methods: Effects of alcohol (0.27 and 0.60 g/kg) on performance in the Deese/Roediger-McDermott false recognition paradigm were examined in a repeated measures placebo-controlled double-blind design in 18 healthy volunteers. Results: The 0.60 g/kg dose of alcohol significantly reduced true recognition rates (measured by hit rate) and induced a more conservative response bias (measured by C) relative to placebo; however, neither alcohol dose significantly impaired participants' sensitivity in discriminating between old and new words (d′). Neither alcohol dose affected false recognition rates. Conclusions: Effects of alcohol on false recognition and on response bias may differ from those observed previously with benzodiazepines. A direct comparison at equivalent doses will be necessary to draw conclusions about qualitative differences between alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2001


  • Alcohol
  • False recognition
  • Memory
  • Sedative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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