Cognitive task performance and frequency of alcohol usage in young adults

Arit M. Harvanko, Brian L. Odlaug, Liana R.N. Schreiber, Jon E. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: The goal of our study was to examine cognitive effects of alcohol in young adults at varied levels of alcohol usage using well-validated computerized cognitive measures. Methods: One hundred fifty-five young adults (mean age: 21.15 ± 3.092 years; 25.8% female), free from non-alcohol-related psychiatric diagnoses and drug use, underwent selected tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery in conjunction with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale, Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire, and the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. Study participants were grouped according to alcohol frequency: nondrinkers, at-risk drinkers (subsyndromal alcohol usage), and alcohol use disorder. Results: At-risk drinkers and individuals with alcohol use disorders bet significantly more overall on the Cambridge Gambling Task than nondrinkers. There were no significant differences noted between groups on the Spatial Working Memory task or Intradimensional/ Extra-dimensional Set Shift task. Individuals with alcohol use disorders endorsed higher impulsivity than at-risk and nondrinkers on the Barratt Impulsivity Scale and Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire. Individuals with alcohol use disorders and at-risk drinkers also endorsed higher venturesomeness than nondrinkers on the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. Conclusions: Results from the Cambridge Gambling Task suggest that even at a subsyndromal level, young adults make risky decisions that mirror those seen in individuals with alcohol use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of addiction medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • Cognition
  • Impulsivity


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