University of Sussex
Falmer, England BN1 9PX

Theodora Duka
Professor of Experimental Psychology, School of Life Sciences
People have used alcohol since earliest time to feel animated, relaxed or creative. This simple molecule reduces anxiety, and induces elation and pleasure. At the same time it impairs memory, and dampens our ability to control our behaviour. All these effects contribute to alcohol’s addictive nature. Alcohol affects memory in different ways. While material learned just before intoxication is better encoded, material encoded under alcohol is less effectively remembered later. Thus, after they have sobered up, drinkers remember the positive mood preceding a drinking bout, and forget the negative consequences of intoxication. Equally importantly, my research has shown that alcohol impairs the ability to plan, to make efficient decisions, and to inhibit inappropriate responses. My recent research has demonstrated that binge drinking, in particular, impairs these aspects of executive function. In my lecture I will present data demonstrating the complex effects of alcohol on cognition and behaviour and will discuss some implications in the prevention of alcohol abuse.

Chowen lecture theatre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

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Added by dallaway on April 14, 2008