Effect of Alcohol on Encoding and Consolidation of Memory for Alcohol-Related Images.
ABSTRACT: Drug and alcohol abusers develop strong memories for drug-related stimuli. Preclinical studies suggest that such memories are a result of drug actions on reward pathways, which facilitate learning about drug-related stimuli. However, few controlled studies have investigated how drugs affect memory for drug-related stimuli in humans.The current study examined the direct effect of alcohol on memory for images of alcohol-related or neutral beverages. Participants received alcohol (0.8 g/kg) either before viewing visual images (encoding condition; n = 20) or immediately after viewing them (consolidation condition; n = 20). A third group received placebo both before and after viewing the images (control condition; n = 19). Memory retrieval was tested exactly 48 hours later, in a drug-free state.Alcohol impaired memory in the encoding condition and enhanced memory in the consolidation condition, but these effects did not differ for alcohol-related and neutral beverage stimuli. However, in the encoding condition, participants who experienced greater alcohol-induced stimulation exhibited better memory for alcohol-related, but not neutral beverage stimuli.These findings suggest that individual differences in sensitivity to the positive, rewarding effects of alcohol are associated with greater propensity to remember alcohol-related stimuli encountered while intoxicated. As such, stimulant responders may form stronger memory associations with alcohol-related stimuli, which might then influence their drinking behavior.
Project description:We examined abnormalities in physiological responses to emotional stimuli associated with long-term chronic alcoholism. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and heart rate (HR) responses were measured in 32 abstinent alcoholic (ALC) and 30 healthy nonalcoholic (NC) men and women undergoing an emotional memory task in an MRI scanner. The task required participants to remember the identity of two emotionally-valenced faces presented at the onset of each trial during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning. After viewing the faces, participants saw a distractor image (an alcoholic beverage, nonalcoholic beverage, or scrambled image) followed by a single probe face. The task was to decide whether the probe face matched one of the two encoded faces. Skin conductance measurements (before and after the encoded faces, distractor, and probe) were obtained from electrodes on the index and middle fingers on the left hand. HR measurements (beats per minute before and after the encoded faces, distractor, and probe) were obtained by a pulse oximeter placed on the little finger on the left hand. We expected that, relative to NC participants, the ALC participants would show reduced SCR and HR responses to the face stimuli, and that we would identify greater reactivity to the alcoholic beverage stimuli than to the distractor stimuli unrelated to alcohol. While the beverage type did not differentiate the groups, the ALC group did have reduced skin conductance and HR responses to elements of the task, as compared to the NC group.
Project description:Understanding how stimulant drugs affect memory is important for understanding their addictive potential. Here we examined the effects of acute d-methamphetamine (METH), administered either before (encoding phase) or immediately after (consolidation phase) study on memory for emotional and neutral images in healthy humans. Young adult volunteers (N = 60) were randomly assigned to either an encoding group (N = 29) or a consolidation group (N = 31). Across three experimental sessions, they received placebo and two doses of METH (10, 20 mg) either 45 min before (encoding) or immediately after (consolidation) viewing pictures of emotionally positive, neutral, and negative scenes. Memory for the pictures was tested two days later, under drug-free conditions. Half of the sample reported sleep disturbances following the high dose of METH, which affected their memory performance. Therefore, participants were classified as poor sleepers (less than 6 hours; n = 29) or adequate sleepers (6 or more hours; n = 31) prior to analyses. For adequate sleepers, METH (20 mg) administered before encoding significantly improved memory accuracy relative to placebo, especially for emotional (positive and negative), compared to neutral, stimuli. For poor sleepers in the encoding group, METH impaired memory. METH did not affect memory in the consolidation group regardless of sleep quality. These results extend previous findings showing that METH can enhance memory for salient emotional stimuli but only if it is present at the time of study, where it can affect both encoding and consolidation. METH does not appear to facilitate consolidation if administered after encoding. The study also demonstrates the important role of sleep in memory studies.
Project description:Data suggests that emotion reactivity as measured by the affect-modulated startle paradigm in those with schizophrenia (SZ) may be similar to healthy controls (HC). However, normative classification of the stimuli may not accurately reflect emotional experience, especially for those with SZ. To examine this possibility, the present study measured the affect-modulated startle response with images classified according to both normative and subjective ratings. Seventeen HC and 17 SZ completed an image viewing task during which startle probes were presented, followed by subjective valence and arousal ratings. Both groups exhibited inhibited startle responses to positive images, intermediate startle amplitudes to neutral images, and potentiated startle amplitudes to negative images. SZ rated the positive images as less positive than HC. When images were reclassified based on subjective valence ratings, both groups' startle magnitudes increased in response to subjectively rated positive images and decreased to subjectively rated neutral images. The number of trials classified into each valence condition suggested a tendency for SZ to classify neutral images as negative more often than HC. Overall, these findings suggest that affective stimuli modulate the startle response in HC and SZ in similar ways, but subjective emotional experience may differ in those with schizophrenia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Low sensitivity to alcohol in persons with a family history of alcoholism (FH+), compared to those without (FH-), contributes to risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, sensitivity of FH+ cardiovascular response to alcohol is not well understood. This gap is significant because cardiovascular processes contribute to emotional regulation and stress response problems theorized to be central to the development and persistence of AUD. This study compared changes in heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) between FH groups after consuming alcohol and control beverages and examined how these changes were moderated by emotional and alcohol-related contexts. METHODS:Young adults (N = 165) with FH+ (n = 110) or FH- (n = 55) each completed 2 sessions, separated by 1 week. They received one of 3 different beverages (alcohol, placebo, and told-no-alcohol) in each session. Electrocardiogram data were recorded during pre-beverage consumption and post-beverage consumption baselines, and then during 4 picture cue tasks (neutral, positive, negative, and alcohol-related). Generalized estimating equations were used to examine differences in cardiovascular reactivity (changes in HR and HRV power at ~ 0.1 Hz) across FH groups, beverage conditions, and picture cue tasks. RESULTS:A significant beverage condition × cue task × FH interaction effect on HRV was observed. The FH+ group, compared to the FH- group, showed (a) significantly less HRV suppression in specific cue contexts following alcohol, (b) a mixed pattern of more and less HRV suppression across cue contexts following placebo, and (c) a similar HRV reactivity pattern in the told-no-alcohol condition across cue tasks. For HR, there were no significant effects involving FH. CONCLUSIONS:Diminished cardiovascular sensitivity to oral alcohol in FH+ persons varied within a given drinking episode depending on emotional and alcohol-related features of the context, suggesting that environmental characteristics play a role in the expression of low sensitivity to alcohol among FH+ individuals.
Project description:Attentional bias for drug-related stimuli, as measured by emotional Stroop (ES) tasks, is predictive of treatment outcomes for tobacco smoking and other abused drugs. Characterizing relationships between smoking-related attentional bias and brain reactivity to smoking images may help in identifying neural substrates critical to relapse vulnerability. To this end, we investigated putative relationships between interference effects in an offline smoking ES task and functional MRI (fMRI) measures of brain reactivity to smoking vs neutral images in women smokers. Positive correlations were found between attentional bias and reactivity to smoking images in brain areas involved in emotion, memory, interoception, and visual processing, including the amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, insula, and occipital cortex. These findings suggest that smokers with elevated attentional biases to smoking-related stimuli may more readily shift attention away from other external stimuli and toward smoking stimuli-induced internal states and emotional memories. Such attentional shifts may contribute to increased interference by smoking cues, possibly increasing relapse vulnerability. Treatments capable of inhibiting shifts to drug cue-induced memories and internal states may lead to personalized tobacco dependence treatment for smokers with high attentional bias to smoking-related stimuli.
Project description:Stress, cues, and pharmacological priming are linked with relapse to addictive behavior. Increased salience and decreased inhibitory control are thought to mediate the effects of relapse-related stimuli. However, the functional relationship between these two processes is unclear. To address this issue, a modified Stop Signal Task was employed, which used Alcohol, Neutral, and Non-Words as Go stimuli, and lexical decision as the Go response. Subjects were 38 male problem drinkers (mean Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS) score: 18.0). Uncontrollable noise (? 10 min at 110 dB) was the stressor; nonalcoholic placebo beer (P-Beer) was the cue manipulation, and alcohol (0.7 g/kg), the pharmacological prime. Half the sample received alcohol, and half P-Beer. Stress and beverage (test drink vs soft drink) were manipulated within subjects on two sessions, with half the sample receiving active manipulations together and half receiving them separately. Go response time (RT) and Stop Signal RT (SSRT) were slower to Alcohol than Neutral words. Stress augmented this bias. Alcohol and P-Beer impaired overall SSRT. Stress impaired neither overall SSRT nor Go RT. SSRT to Neutral words and Non-Words correlated inversely with Go RT to Alcohol and Neutral words, and Non-Words. ADS correlated directly with SSRT to Alcohol words. A resource allocation account was proposed, whereby diversion of limited resources to salient cues effectively yoked otherwise independent Go and Stop processes. Disturbances of prefrontal norepinephrine and dopamine were cited as possibly accounting for these effects. Treatments that optimize prefrontal catecholamine transmission may deter relapse by reducing disinhibitory effects of salient eliciting stimuli.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Individuals with cocaine use disorder (CUD) chose cocaine over nondrug rewards. In two newly designed laboratory tasks with pictures, we document this modified choice outside of a cocaine administration paradigm. METHODS:Choice for viewing cocaine, pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral pictures--under explicit contingencies (choice made between two fully visible side-by-side images) and under more implicit contingencies (selections made between pictures hidden under flipped-over cards)--was examined in 20 CUD and 20 matched healthy control subjects. Subjects also provided self-reported ratings of each picture's pleasantness and arousal. RESULTS:Under both contingencies, CUD subjects chose to view more cocaine pictures than control subjects, group differences that were not fully explained by the self-reported picture ratings. Furthermore, whereas CUD subjects' choice for viewing cocaine pictures exceeded choice for viewing unpleasant pictures (but did not exceed choice for viewing pleasant pictures, in contrast to their self-reported ratings), healthy control subjects avoided viewing cocaine pictures as frequently as, or even more than, unpleasant pictures. Finally, CUD subjects with the most cocaine viewing selections, even when directly compared with selections of the pleasant pictures, also reported the most frequent recent cocaine use. CONCLUSIONS:Enhanced drug-related choice in cocaine addiction can be demonstrated even for nonpharmacologic (pictorial) stimuli. This choice, which is modulated by alternative stimuli, partly transcends self-reports (possibly indicative of a disconnect in cocaine addiction between self-reports and objective behavior) to provide an objective marker of addiction severity. Neuroimaging studies are needed to establish the neural underpinnings of such enhanced cocaine-related choice.
Project description:The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is generally thought to be involved in affect and emotional processing; however, the specific contribution of each hemisphere continues to be debated. In the present study, we employed unilateral tDCS to test the unique contribution of left DLPFC in the encoding and retrieval of emotional stimuli in healthy subjects. Forty-two right handed undergraduate students received either anodal, cathodal or sham stimulation of left DLPFC while viewing neutral, pleasant, and unpleasant pictures. After completing a filler task, participants were asked to remember as many pictures as possible. Results showed that participants were able to remember a larger amount of emotional (both pleasant and unpleasant) pictures than of neutral ones, regardless of the type of tDCS condition. Participants who received anodal stimulation recalled a significantly higher number of pleasant images than participants in the sham and cathodal conditions, while no differences emerged in the recall of neutral and unpleasant pictures. We conclude that our results provide some support to the role of left prefrontal cortex in the encoding and retrieval of pleasant stimuli.
Project description:An important goal of addiction research and treatment is to predict behavioural responses to drug-related stimuli. This goal is especially important for patients with impaired insight, which can interfere with therapeutic interventions and potentially invalidate self-report questionnaires. This research tested (i) whether event-related potentials, specifically the late positive potential, predict choice to view cocaine images in cocaine addiction; and (ii) whether such behaviour prediction differs by insight (operationalized in this study as self-awareness of image choice). Fifty-nine cocaine abusers and 32 healthy controls provided data for the following laboratory components that were completed in a fixed-sequence (to establish prediction): (i) event-related potential recordings while passively viewing pleasant, unpleasant, neutral and cocaine images, during which early (400-1000 ms) and late (1000-2000 ms) window late positive potentials were collected; (ii) self-reported arousal ratings for each picture; and (iii) two previously validated tasks: one to assess choice for viewing these same images, and the other to group cocaine abusers by insight. Results showed that pleasant-related late positive potentials and arousal ratings predicted pleasant choice (the choice to view pleasant pictures) in all subjects, validating the method. In the cocaine abusers, the predictive ability of the late positive potentials and arousal ratings depended on insight. Cocaine-related late positive potentials better predicted cocaine image choice in cocaine abusers with impaired insight. Another emotion-relevant event-related potential component (the early posterior negativity) did not show these results, indicating specificity of the late positive potential. In contrast, arousal ratings better predicted respective cocaine image choice (and actual cocaine use severity) in cocaine abusers with intact insight. Taken together, the late positive potential could serve as a biomarker to help predict drug-related choice--and possibly associated behaviours (e.g. drug seeking in natural settings, relapse after treatment)--when insight (and self-report) is compromised.
Project description:Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging and event-related brain potential studies revealed that performing a cognitive task may suppress the preferential processing of emotional stimuli. However, these studies utilized simple and artificial tasks (i.e. letter, shape or orientation discrimination tasks), unfamiliar to the participants. The present event-related potential study examined the emotion-attention interaction in the context of a comparably more natural scene categorization task. Deciding whether a natural scene contains an animal or not is a familiar and meaningful task to the participants and presumed to require little attentional resources. The task images were presented centrally and were overlaid upon emotional or neutral background pictures. Thus, implicit emotion and explicit semantic categorization may compete for processing resources in neural regions implicated in object recognition. Additionally, participants passively viewed the same stimulus materials without the demand to categorize task images. Significant interactions between task condition and emotional picture valence were observed for the occipital negativity and late positive potential. In the passive viewing condition, emotional background images elicited an increased occipital negativity followed by an increased late positive potential. In contrast, during the animal-/non-animal-categorization task, emotional modulation effects were replaced by strong target categorization effects. These results suggest that explicit semantic categorization interferes with implicit emotion processing when both processes compete for shared resources.