The Effect of an Alcohol-Associated Interference Task on Recall of Words and Drinking Urges in Heavy and Light Drinkers | Original Article
Background. Problematic drinkers are a burden on public health, and they now outnumber dependent drinkers in the United Kingdom. It is important to understand the effects that alcohol has on cognitive function, particularly memory, as repeated exposure to alcohol produces an alcohol attentional bias. Methods. The current research aims to investigate word memory recall among light and heavy drinkers. After memorising a list of words, the two kinds of drinkers will participate in an interference task involving either neutral words or alcohol- related words. The impact of the alcohol-related task on recall during the memory task and on drinking urges will then be measured. Results. The data suggest there were no differing effects between heavy and light drinkers in their ability to recall words after exposure to the alcohol- related stimuli, as well as in the heavy drinkers group that received the alcohol-related or neutral words. Interestingly, a statistically significant difference was found in the number of the words recalled between light drinkers who participated in the alcohol interference task and light drinkers who participated in the neutral interference task. In addition, exposure to alcohol-related words does not seem to affect urges to drink. Conclusions. The results do not contribute to the body of evidence on the effects of alcohol-related words on heavy drinkers’ cognitive processes (attentional bias and memory) due to the limitations, such as the primary reliance on the purposed definition of a ‘light’ social drinker.