Alcohol affects the emotional modulation of cognitive control: an event-related brain potential study

Anja Euser, Ingmar Franken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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The present study aimed to determine whether alcohol affects the emotional modulation of cognitive control and its underlying neural mechanisms, which is pivotal to an understanding of the socially maladaptive behaviors frequently seen in alcohol-intoxicated individuals. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in male participants receiving either a moderate dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg alcohol; n = 32) or a non-alcoholic placebo beverage (n = 32) while performing an emotional Go/No-Go task that required response execution (Go trials) to pictures of a "target" emotional facial expression (angry, happy, neutral) and response inhibition (No-Go trials) to a different "non-target" expression. Overall, N200 and P300 amplitudes were more enhanced during No-Go than Go trials. Interestingly, alcohol-intoxicated individuals displayed larger No-Go N200 amplitudes across all emotional conditions than controls, accompanied by decreased task performance (i.e., more errors), particularly in response to angry faces. P300 amplitude in the alcohol group was significantly reduced for both Go and No-Go trials, but only following angry and happy emotional expressions. These results suggest that alcohol-intoxicated individuals need to effortfully activate more cognitive resources during the early inhibition process in order to regulate a response than controls. Moreover, alcohol affected the emotional modulation of both response inhibition and execution in the later stages of cognitive control. Alcohol dampened emotional responsiveness, which may restrict the availability of attentional resources for cognitive control. Yet, these findings may underlie the lack
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)459-476
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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