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Title: The effects of alcohol on memory for emotionally significant events
Author: Knowles, Samuel Kenneth Zachary.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis examines the ways in which an acute, social dose of alcohol affects the evaluation and encoding of emotionally significant events. The effects of the drug were examined in relation to both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli, compared with neutral. Chapter I presents a review of the literature relating to alcohol consumption and abuse, the pharmacology of alcohol, and established effects of alcohol and other drugs on memory and mood. It considers the dimensions and neurobiological substrates of emotional learning and memory and assesses state-dependent and mood-congruent effects on memory, drug-free and under alcohol. It was proposed that the well established retrograde facilitative and anterograde impairing effects of alcohol on neutral materials would also be found with emotional stimuli. As a result of the positive mood induced by alcohol, it was hypothesised that recall of positive stimuli would be facilitated through congruency effects, while recall of negatives would be impaired. Chapter 2 sets out the common methodology used in all this thesis' experiments, including the selection of the emotional visual stimuli. In chapters 3-8, the different experimental manipulations used to test the core hypotheses are considered, including a depth of processing manipulation (chapter 5) and mood induction (chapter 8). Chapter 9 considers post hoc the role of previous drinking history on memory performance across the six experiments. In chapter 10, the results from the six experimental chapters are discussed. It was concluded that the retrograde facilitative and anterograde impairing effects of alcohol are profound and relatively easy to demonstrate, while the dissociation of positive from negative recall is subtle and difficult to find using the dose deployed in this thesis. In order to detect mood congruency effects between the drug and pleasant visual stimuli, modelling the experience of emotionally significant events under alcohol in the laboratory requires the induction of a veridical mood state and not simply exposure to the stimuli
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available