Skip to content

The influence of alcohol and cognitive capacity on visual number judgements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

We used an enumeration task to address the question of whether acute alcohol intoxication reduces cognitive or perceptual capacity. To control for individual differences in cognitive resources we took a sober record of each participant’s working memory capacity (WMC). Alcohol was expected to impair enumeration accuracy, either for the automatic parallel counting of small stimulus sets indicating a perceptual impairment, or the controlled counting or estimating of larger sets indicating a cognitive impairment. Enumeration performance showed an overall decline in accuracy following a vodka beverage and the deficit was negligible for small sets, which is inconsistent with a loss of perceptual capacity. Having a higher WMC facilitated the enumeration of larger sets and the correlation between WMC and accuracy was stronger in the alcohol condition suggesting that low-WMC participants were more impaired by the beverage. Our findings therefore suggest that alcohol diminished cognitive rather than perceptual capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021


  • Harvey & Seedhouse_R1_Perception.doc

    Rights statement: Harvey A. J., Seedhouse M., Influence of Alcohol and Cognitive Capacity on Visual Number Judgements. Perception. 2021;50(1): 39-51. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). DOI: 10.1177/0301006620984105.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 629 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 25023550