CAN ALCOHOL LEAD TO INHIBITION OR DISINHIBITION? APPLYING ALCOHOL MYOPIA TO ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION


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Abstract

AimsAnimal experimentation often demonstrates that alcohol leads to disinhibited behaviour, such as increased aggression, increased social behaviour, or increased impulsivity. However, human experimentation demonstrates that alcohol can have either disinhibiting or inhibiting effects on behaviour, depending on salient environmental cues. Our aim was to illustrate how alcohol myopia theory could be applied to the literature assessing the effects of alcohol on behaviour in animals.MethodsThe effects of alcohol on animal behaviour were reviewed in several domains, including aggression, social behaviours, and impulsivity. Suggestions for testing alcohol myopia with animal research paradigms were provided.ResultsCurrent animal research paradigms are often designed in such a way that alcohol myopia cannot be tested. To test alcohol myopia, we recommend manipulating the salience of both impelling and inhibiting environmental cues.ConclusionsDisinhibition alone cannot explain alcohol's effects on behaviour. We contend that alcohol myopia theory helps to explain some contradictory findings in the human and animal literature. We encourage animal researchers to develop research paradigms to provide tests of alcohol myopia.

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