University of Tasmania
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The effect of acute alcohol intoxication on social inhibition and theory of mind : a social lubricant or social depressant?

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:30 authored by Emma JohnsonEmma Johnson
Alcohol intoxication is associated with socially disinhibited behaviours that may reflect impaired social cognitive abilities that guide social behaviour. The effects of alcohol on social cognition, and how this may contribute to disinhibited behaviour is relatively poorly studied. The aims of this study were to examine whether intoxicated individuals could inhibit negative responses to negative social information, whether these difficulties were reliant on theory of mind ability, and whether intoxicated individuals were able to adjust verbal responses when provided with guidelines about how to respond. Sixty-four males and females aged between 18 and 34 were recruited from the University of Tasmania and wider community to participate in the study. Participants consumed a beverage containing either alcohol or placebo before completing a Flanker task, a Go/No-Go task, and a newly developed measure of social disinhibition, the Social Disinhibition Task. Results indicate that alcohol intoxicated individuals can inhibit negative responses to negative social information, but display difficulty inhibiting negative responses to social information requiring ToM ability. Intoxicated individuals were able to adjust responses when required. These findings extend current understandings of the mechanisms involved in negative social behaviours following acute alcohol administration and may have important implications for development of public policy.

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Copyright 2016 the author

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