Effects of Ethanol on Operant Performance in Humans.
Technical rept. Nov-Dec 71,
EDGEWOOD ARSENAL MD
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Two volunteers served in two experiments using operant techniques to study the effects of alcohol on human avoidance responding. In the first experiment, the task required response rates ranging from 0.6 to 5.6 responses per second. Increasing amounts of ethanol 0.5 to 1.5 mlkg and increasing response rate requirements interacted additively in producing performance decrements as measured by error percentages. The results suggested that motor coorination was impaired more than attention or observing behavior. Differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate schedules, in combination with limited-hold intervals for reinforcement, were used in the second experiment. In one subject, increasing amounts of alcohol .05 to 1.5 mlkg resulted in increasing over-estimations of time lapse and a large increase in the number of errors at the highest dose. The other subject demonstrated variability in response and error rates as a function of dose and response contingencies. For the latter subject, a possible functional relationship among response characteristics, amounts of alcohol, and a personality variable was suggested. In both subjects, alcohol interfered with normal temporal perception. Author