Rationale: The pattern of acute memory impairment produced by alcohol is similar to that produced by the benzodiazepines. However, in contrast to demonstrations that benzodiazepines decrease false recognition rates, results of a recent study suggest that a low dose of alcohol increases false recognition rates; false recognition refers to the phenomenon of mistakenly claiming that one has been exposed previously to a novel item. Objective: This study was designed to examine the acute dose-effects of alcohol on false recognition. Methods: Effects of alcohol (0.27 and 0.60 g/kg) on performance in the Deese/Roediger-McDermott false recognition paradigm were examined in a repeated measures placebo-controlled double-blind design in 18 healthy volunteers. Results: The 0.60 g/kg dose of alcohol significantly reduced true recognition rates (measured by hit rate) and induced a more conservative response bias (measured by C) relative to placebo; however, neither alcohol dose significantly impaired participants' sensitivity in discriminating between old and new words (d′). Neither alcohol dose affected false recognition rates. Conclusions: Effects of alcohol on false recognition and on response bias may differ from those observed previously with benzodiazepines. A direct comparison at equivalent doses will be necessary to draw conclusions about qualitative differences between alcohol and benzodiazepines.
- False recognition
ASJC Scopus subject areas