[en] Adult ; Alcoholism/physiopathology ; Case-Control Studies ; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ; Electroencephalography/instrumentation/methods ; Emotions/physiology ; Event-Related Potentials, P300/physiology ; Female ; Humans ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Photic Stimulation ; Psychometrics ; Reaction Time
[en] Several studies have demonstrated that the emotional value of stimuli affects P300 amplitude. In the present study, the influence of alcohol-related stimuli in alcoholic patients was investigated. Subjects were 10 alcoholic inpatients (3 female) and 10 age- and sex-matched controls. Eight alcohol-related and 8 neutral words served as stimuli in a visual oddball paradigm. Acohol-related words were targets (48 stimuli, 33%) and neutral words were standard stimuli (96 stimuli, 66%). Results showed that P300 amplitude for targets did not differ significantly between the two groups. However, P300 latency for targets as well as reaction time were significantly shorter in male alcoholic patients. In contrast, P300 latency was increased in female alcoholic patients but reaction time did not differ. These results suggest that male alcoholics process information linked to alcohol cues more rapidly than neutral cues, probably because a specific semantic network is activated in these patients. The decreased reaction time confirms the impulsive behavior frequently found in male alcoholism, as it has been described in type II alcoholism. Besides, the results imply that information processing was delayed in female alcoholic patients. Therefore this study demonstrates a gender-dependent impact of alcohol-related stimuli on information processing.
Centre de Neurosciences Comportementale et Cognitive