134/365: Si bebes no conduzcas

It’s been a long time since I was in college, but not so long that I can’t relate to the findings in this study:

“When people make mistakes, activity in a part of the brain responsible for monitoring behavior increases, essentially sending an alarm signal to other parts of the brain indicating that something went wrong,” said Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of psychology in the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science. “Our study isn’t the first to show that alcohol reduces this alarm signal, but contrary to previous studies, our study shows that alcohol doesn’t reduce your awareness of mistakes — it reduces how much you care about making those mistakes.”

During the study, Bartholow’s team measured the brain activity of 67 participants, ages 21-35, as they completed a challenging computer task designed to elicit some errors. About one third of the participants were given alcoholic drinks, while the rest were given no alcohol or a placebo beverage. In addition to monitoring their brain activity, the researchers also measured changes in participants’ mood, their accuracy in the computer task, as well as their perceived accuracy.

The findings showed that the brain’s “alarm signal” in response to errors was much less pronounced in those who had consumed alcohol, and the response was largest for those in the placebo group. However, those in the alcohol group were no less likely to realize when they had made a mistake than participants in the other groups, indicating that alcohol’s reduction of the brain’s “alarm signal” did not occur simply because those in the alcohol group were unaware of their errors. The findings also showed that those who had consumed alcohol were less likely to slow down and be more careful in the task following errors.
“In tasks like the one we used, although we encourage people to try to respond as quickly as possible, it is very common for people to respond more slowly following an error, as a way of trying to regain self-control. That’s what we saw in our placebo group. The alcohol group participants didn’t do this,” Bartholow said. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene where alcohol influences the decision making of your characters.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when alcohol affected your decision making or when you witnessed that happening to someone you know.

Art Prompt: Drunk

Photo Credit: anieto2k on Flickr

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