Activation, attention, and visuospatial learning in adults with and without a family history of alcoholism

Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research
S L SchandlerJ Antick


While recent evidence shows visuospatial information processing deficits to be present in chronic alcoholics, it remains unclear whether such deficits are present prior to alcohol abuse in persons at risk for developing alcoholism. If present, it is also unclear whether the information processing mechanisms underlying these deficits are the same in alcoholics and persons at risk for alcoholism. This study investigated visuospatial information processing psychophysiological activation in adults with and without a family history of alcoholism. Thirty matched nonalcoholics served as participants. Fifteen persons were from families in which at least one biologic parent and one other relative had a history of alcoholism. Another group of 15 persons had no family history of alcoholism. In addition to displaying atypical patterns of learning-contingent physiological activation, participants with a family history of alcoholism displayed visuospatial learning that was significantly poorer than persons with no family history of alcoholism. The learning and physiological activation displayed by the participants with a family history of alcoholism were similar to those displayed by previously studied alcoholics using a similar learning tas...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Vigilance, Cortical
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