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Inhibiting automatic negative social responses in alcohol intoxication: interactions with theory of mind ability and level of task guidance

Johnson, EG, Skromanis, S, Bruno, R ORCID: 0000-0001-6673-833X, Mond, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X and Honan, CA ORCID: 0000-0001-5735-4270 2018 , 'Inhibiting automatic negative social responses in alcohol intoxication: interactions with theory of mind ability and level of task guidance' , Psychopharmacology, vol. 235, no. 4 , pp. 1221-1232 , doi: 10.1007/s00213-018-4838-3.

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Rationale: Alcohol intoxication is associated with socially disinhibited behaviours that may reflect impaired social cognitiveabilities that guide social behaviour. The effects of alcohol on social cognition and how this may contribute to disinhibitedbehaviour are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine whether intoxicated individuals could inhibit automaticnegative responses to negative social information, whether these difficulties were reliant on theory of mind (ToM) ability andwhether intoxicated individuals were able to adjust verbal responses when provided with guidelines about how to respond.Methods: Sixty-four participants aged between 18 and 34 (balanced for gender) consumed a beverage containing either placeboor alcohol calculated to achieve a target BrAC of 0.080%, before completing a Flanker task, a go/no-go task and a novel measureof social disinhibition, the social disinhibition task.Results: Results indicate that alcohol-intoxicated individuals can inhibit negative responses to negative social information, butdisplay difficulty inhibiting negative responses to social information that requires ToM. They also suggest that people under theinfluence of moderate-to-high-dose alcohol can adjust their responses when provided with specific guidelines on how to respond.Conclusions: These findings may have important implications for understanding negative alcohol-related behaviours and promotethe consideration of social context, social pressure and social cognitive abilities in the development of public policy and targetedinterventions to prevent alcohol-related antisocial behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Johnson, EG and Skromanis, S and Bruno, R and Mond, J and Honan, CA
Keywords: alcohol intoxication, theory of mind, inhibition
Journal or Publication Title: Psychopharmacology
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 0033-3158
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00213-018-4838-3
Copyright Information:

Copyright Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

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