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Processing of facial affect in social drinkers: a dose-response study of alcohol using dynamic emotion expressions

Kamboj, SK; Joye, A; Bisby, JA; Das, RK; Platt, B; Curran, HV; (2013) Processing of facial affect in social drinkers: a dose-response study of alcohol using dynamic emotion expressions. Psychopharmacology , 227 (1) pp. 31-39. 10.1007/s00213-012-2940-5.

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Abstract

Rationale Studies of affect recognition can inform our understanding of the interpersonal effects of alcohol and help develop a more complete neuropsychological profile of this drug. Objectives The objective of the study was to examine affect recognition in social drinkers using a novel dynamic affect-recognition task, sampling performance across a range of evolutionarily significant target emotions and neutral expressions. Methods Participants received 0, 0.4 or 0.8 g/kg alcohol in a double-blind, independent groups design. Relatively naturalistic changes in facial expression—from neutral (mouth open) to increasing intensities of target emotions, as well as neutral (mouth closed)—were simulated using computer-generated dynamic morphs. Accuracy and reaction time were measured and a two-high-threshold model applied to hits and false-alarm data to determine sensitivity and response bias. Results While there was no effect on the principal emotion expressions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger and disgust), compared to those receiving 0.8 g/kg of alcohol and placebo, participants administered with 0.4 g/kg alcohol tended to show an enhanced response bias to neutral expressions. Exploration of this effect suggested an accompanying tendency to misattribute neutrality to sad expressions following the 0.4-g/kg dose. Conclusions The 0.4-g/kg alcohol—but not 0.8 g/kg—produced a limited and specific modification in affect recognition evidenced by a neutral response bias and possibly an accompanying tendency to misclassify sad expressions as neutral. In light of previous findings on involuntary negative memory following the 0.4-g/kg dose, we suggest that moderate—but not high—doses of alcohol have a special relevance to emotional processing in social drinkers.

Type: Article
Title: Processing of facial affect in social drinkers: a dose-response study of alcohol using dynamic emotion expressions
DOI: 10.1007/s00213-012-2940-5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2940-5
Language: English
Keywords: Neurosciences, Pharmacology & Pharmacy, Psychiatry, Sci, Alcohol, Facial Affect, Emotion, Affect Recognition, Sadness, Response Bias, Social Drinkers, Perceptual Cues, Recognition, Consumption, Faces, Expectancy, Feelings, Deficits, Memory, Model
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1371201
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