Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Social.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This study used a quasi-experimental design to test the hypothesis that social drinking at greater than usual levels of consumption produces decrements in sober abstract functioning. The Shipley Institute of Living Scale (SILS) Vocabulary and Abstraction subtests and the Employee Aptitude Survey (EAS) Symbolic Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning subtests were utilized to assess cognitive functioning. Thirty-six participants (19 male, 17 female) were assigned to either a non-drinking control group (n = 18) or an alcohol consumption group (n = 18). Alcohol group participants attended four Saturday evening parties on a bi-weekly basis. On two of these occasions they were allowed to consume alcohol (the second and fourth) and on two they were not (first and third). At the alcohol available parties participants were allowed access to either their usual quantity consumed per occasion (QPO), or to a 33% increase over their QPO. Alcohol participants were tested 36 hours after their parties and were to maintain abstinent during that time. Control participants were tested on a bi-weekly basis and were asked to remain abstinent for 48 hours prior to testing. Results indicated that alcohol consumption at a level consistent with social drinking, as well as consumption above QPO, produces changes in sober cognitive functioning. Some verbally dependent tasks appear to be enhanced by exposure to alcohol (EAS Verbal Reasoning and SILS Vocabulary) while some tasks requiring abstract functioning (EAS Symbolic Reasoning and SILS Abstraction) appear to suffer following exposure to alcohol. The negative impact of alcohol is subtle, is not apparent on a verbally based test of abstract functioning, and seems to have a beneficial effect on some cognitive functions. These results can best be explained by asserting that social drinking interferes with a cognitive process other than abstract functioning. Social drinking seems to interfere with the capacity to remember and apply novel information to a task. Results from earlier studies can be seen as reflecting this interference with 'resource allocation'. Implications for the design of future research studies are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1989 .M44. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 50-08, Section: B, page: 3760. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1989.