Next day effects of a normal night's drinking on memory and psychomotor performance

Adele McKinney, Kieran Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To investigate in social drinkers the effects of a `normal' evening of drinking alcohol on cognitive performance. Methods: Aiming for ecological validity, the study required participants to consume their usual quantity of any type of alcoholic beverage in their chosen company (hangover situation). However, the timing of drinking was restricted to the period between 22:00 and 02:00 hours on the night before testing. Testing included memory and psychomotor performance tests; testing was also performed after an evening of abstinence (no hangover situation), following a counterbalanced design using repeated measures, with time of testing (09:00, 11:00 and 13:00 hours) and order of testing (hangover/no hangover; no hangover/hangover) as `between participant' factors in the analysis. Results: Forty-eight social drinkers (33 women, 15 men) aged between 18 and 43 years were tested, with a 1-week interval between test sessions. The morning after alcohol (mean consumption: 14.7 units for men; 10.4 units for women), free recall was impaired at 09:00 hours and delayed recognition and psychomotor performance were impaired throughout the morning, despite blood alcohol levels of zero or very near zero. Conclusion: Memory and psychomotor performance is impaired on the morning after heavy `social' drinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-513
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2004


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