Next-day effects of alcohol and an additional stressor on memory and psychomotor performance

Adele McKinney, Kieran Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effects of a stressor, white noise, on cognitive performance of subjects in the compromised hangover state. Method: The study followed a mixed factorial, counterbalanced, repeated-measures design with noise, order of testing, and time of testing as between-participants factors and state during testing as a within-participants factor. Seventy-eight participants performed memory and psychomotor tasks the morning after a regular night of drinking and the morning after a night of no alcohol consumption. Forty-eight participants were tested in the no-noise condition, and the other 30 participants had an additional factor of white noise during both testing sessions. Measures of memory and psychomotor performance are reported. Results: The stressor (white noise) resulted in poorer memory performance only when participants had consumed alcohol the night before testing (F = 7.45, 1/66 df, p < .01). Stress also had a detrimental effect on simple reaction time the morning after alcohol consumption in both the task with regular interstimulus interval (F = 4.61, 1/65 df, p < .05) and irregular interstimulus interval (F = 4.45, 1/65 df, p < .05). The five-choice reaction time task revealed that initial move time and return time were slowed by stress and following a night of intoxication, but these factors did not interact. Stress interacted with time of testing and state in the measure of decision time, indicating that noise has a detrimental effect during the hangover state early in the morning and a detrimental effect during the no-hangover state early in the afternoon. Conclusions: The addition of a stressor results in a significant deterioration in memory and psychomotor performance when persons are in the compromised hangover condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-454
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2007


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