Testing alcohol myopia theory: examining the effects of alcohol intoxication on simultaneous central and peripheral attention

S. J. Bayless, A. J. Harvey

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Abstract

The effect of alcohol intoxication on central and peripheral attention was examined as a test of Alcohol Myopia Theory (AMT). Previous research has supported AMT in the context of visual attention, but few studies have examined the effects of alcohol intoxication on central and peripheral attention. The study followed a 2 (alcohol treatment) × 2 (array size) × 2 (task type) mixed design. Forty-one participants (placebo or intoxicated) viewed an array of four or six colored circles, while simultaneously counting the flashes of a centrally presented fixation cross. Participants were instructed to prioritize flash counting accuracy. The subsequently presented colored probe matched the cued peripheral stimulus on 50% of trials. Flash counting and probe identification accuracy were recorded. There was a significant main effect of alcohol treatment on accuracy scores, as well as an alcohol treatment by task type interaction. Accuracy scores for the central flash counting task did not differ between treatment groups, but scores for peripheral probe identification were lower in the alcohol group. As predicted by AMT, alcohol impairment was greater for peripheral probe detection than for the central and prioritized flash counting task. The findings support the notion that alcohol intoxication narrows attentional focus to the central aspects of a task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-99
JournalPerception
Volume46
Issue number1
Early online date3 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Attentional Processes
  • Dual Task
  • Induced States

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