Alcohol and triazolam: Differential effects on memory, psychomotor performance and subjective ratings of effects

Miriam Z. Mintzer, R. R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effects of alcohol (0.80 g/kg) and the benzodiazepine hypnotic triazolam (0.25 mg/70 kg) were compared directly in a double-dummy, double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures design in 18 healthy volunteers. While alcohol (0.80 g/ kg) and triazolam (0.25 mg/70 kg) produced comparable levels of psychomotor performance impairment, a dissociation was observed, such that the magnitude of memory impairment (measured by d′, participants' sensitivity in discriminating between old and new words in the recognition memory paradigm) was greater with triazolam than with alcohol, whereas subjective ratings of the overall strength of drug effect were higher with alcohol than with triazolam. Participants also adopted a more conservative response bias in the recognition memory paradigm in the alcohol (0.80 g/kg) condition relative to both placebo and triazolam (0.25 mg/70 kg). In addition to characterizing the adverse effects of two widely used psychoactive substances, the present results may also contribute to the understanding of underlying neorochemical mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-658
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2002



  • Alcohol
  • Human
  • Memory
  • Psychomotor
  • Sedative
  • Triazolam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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