The Effect of Low Dose Intravenous Alcohol on Human Information Processing

  • Kenneth C. Mills
  • John A. Ewing
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 85B)


A model of multiple-stage information processing predicts alcohol to have a selective effect on mechanisms involving central processing rather than sensory input. However, behavioral effects at low alcohol doses administered orally can be overshadowed by fluctuations in gastrointestinal absorption and metabolism rate. Paid volunteers, who therefore received intravenous doses of alcohol and a barbiturate, were tested on tasks varying in sensory discriminability and in central processing difficulty. The low drug doses did not affect errors of stimulus encoding but increased error rate in memory comparison tasks. These results confirmed the predictions based on the mutiple-stage model.


Psychological Refractory Period Human Information Processing Auditory Task Sodium Thiopental Sound Level Meter 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth C. Mills
    • 1
  • John A. Ewing
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Alcohol StudiesUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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