Visual abilities in severe alcohol use disorder: Preserved spatial but impaired temporal resolution

Coralie Creupelandt, Fabien D'Hondt, Bruno Bocanegra, Sebastien Szaffarczyk, Philippe de Timary, Jory Deleuze, Carine Lambot, Pierre Maurage

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Visuospatial impairments have long been reported in Severe Alcohol Use Disorder but remain poorly understood, notably regarding the involvement of magnocellular (MC) and parvocellular (PC) pathways. This empirical gap hampers the understanding of the implications of these visual changes, especially since the MC and PC pathways are thought to sustain central bottom-up and top-down processes during cognitive processing. They thus influence our ability to efficiently monitor our environment and make the most effective decisions. To overcome this limitation, we measured PC-inferred spatial and MC-inferred temporal resolution in 35 individuals with SAUD and 30 healthy controls. We used Landolt circles displaying small apertures outside the sensitivity range of MC cells or flickering at a temporal frequency exceeding PC sensitivity. We found evidence of preserved PC spatial resolution combined with impaired MC temporal resolution in SAUD. We also measured how spatial and temporal sensitivity is influenced by the prior presentation of fearful faces – as emotional content could favor MC processing over PC one – but found no evidence of emotional modulation in either group. This spatio-temporal dissociation implies that individuals with SAUD may process visual details efficiently but perceive rapidly updating visual information at a slower pace. This deficit has implications for the tracking of rapidly changing stimuli in experimental tasks, but also for the decoding of crucial everyday visual incentives such as faces, whose micro-expressions vary continuously. Future studies should further specify the visual profile of individuals with SAUD to incorporate disparate findings within a theoretically grounded model of vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Coralie Creupelandt (Research Fellow) and Pierre Maurage (Senior Research Associate) are funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.- FNRS , Belgium). This fund did not exert any editorial direction or censorship on any part of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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