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02 September 2011

Alcohol dulls brain

Most people have witnessed otherwise intelligent people doing embarrassing or stupid things when intoxicated, but what happens in the brain to cause such drunken actions?

Most people have witnessed otherwise intelligent people doing embarrassing or stupid things when they are intoxicated, but what specifically happens in the brain to cause such drunken actions?

A new study testing alcohol's effects on brain activity from the University of Missouri says that alcohol dulls the brain signal that warns people when they are making a mistake, ultimately reducing self control.

The findings showed that the brain's alarm signal in response to errors was much less pronounced in those who had consumed alcohol, and the response was largest for those in the placebo group.

However, those in the alcohol group were no less likely to realise when they had made a mistake than participants in the other groups, indicating that alcohol's reduction of the brain's alarm signal did not occur simply because those in the alcohol group were unaware of their errors. The findings also showed that those who had consumed alcohol were less likely to slow down and be more careful in the task following errors.

Alarm signal associated with mood

 
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