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No evidence that alcohol intoxication impairs judgments of learning in face recognition

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 00:38 authored by Monds, LA, Kloft, L, James SauerJames Sauer, Cynthia HonanCynthia Honan, Matthew PalmerMatthew Palmer
Alcohol use is frequently involved in crime, making it crucial to understand the role of alcohol in facial recognition to maximize correct perpetrator identifications. Although the majority of the alcohol and face recognition research has investigated recognition with retrospective confidence judgments, we examined the effects of alcohol intoxication on face recognition with prospective metacognitive judgments. Participants (N = 54 university students without a history of hazardous alcohol/substance use) consumed either alcohol (mean breath alcohol concentration of 0.06 at pretest and 0.07 at post‐test) or a non‐alcoholic placebo drink. Participants then studied unfamiliar male and female faces and made judgments of learning (JOLs) for each face (i.e., predicted the likelihood of recognizing that face on a future memory test). After a brief distractor task, participants completed an old–new recognition test on which they attempted to distinguish the studied faces from new faces. It was found that the alcohol manipulation had minimal effect on face recognition performance or judgments of learning. Our results suggest that theory‐based cues about the effects of alcohol might play a greater role in retrospective judgments than prospective judgments. Although not a primary focus of the study, face recognition was better for male faces than female faces, and this occurred for both female and male participants. Limitations and implications of the research are discussed.


Publication title

Applied Cognitive Psychology






School of Psychological Sciences


John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Place of publication

The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, England, W Sussex, Po19 8Sq

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified

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