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The consumption of alcohol and neurocognitive function in youth

Dwyer, M 2016 , 'The consumption of alcohol and neurocognitive function in youth', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Binge drinking appears to be associated with frontal lobe damage and executive function impairments in adults (Wilcox et al., 2014). It is suggested that as adolescent’s brains have not yet reached full development (Petit et al., 2013), they may be particularly vulnerable to these effects. The current study aimed to investigate if binge drinking is associated with deficits in behavioral and psychophysiological measures of executive function, interference control. Twenty two adolescent males (11 binge drinkers and 11 low level drinkers) were recruited. All participants completed a flanker/go-nogo task which required them to respond to target stimuli whilst withholding their responses to irrelevant stimuli. Binge drinkers did not show a significantly higher number of errors or longer reaction times on the flanker/go-nogo task in comparison to low level drinkers. Additionally, binge drinkers did not show significantly reduced N2 and P3 amplitude at frontal and parietal electrode sites in comparison to low level drinkers. However, low level drinkers showed significantly greater N2 amplitude at frontal in comparison to central electrode sites, whereas binge drinkers did not show this difference. The results from the current study suggest that binge drinkers may employ more widespread recruitment of electrophysiological resources to inhibit their responses and attend to stimuli with no increase in task performance, in comparison to low level drinkers. This study has identified that early intervention may be especially important for adolescent males in order to attempt to reduce binge drinking and protect adolescents from cognitive difficulties associated with binge drinking.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Dwyer, M
Keywords: executive function, adolescents, binge drinking, males, cognition
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Copyright 2015 the author

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