Chronic alcoholics (N = 30) and hospital controls (N = 30), matched on age and education, were tested on a verbal and spatial intelligence test. Chronic alcoholics performed significantly poorer than controls on the spatial but not on the verbal intelligence test. Alcoholic history was demonstrated to be related to cognitive ability with long term alcoholics performing poorer than short term alcoholics. Personality variables as assessed by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory could not account for these differences. Correlations between verbal and spatial intelligence tests were significant for controls and short term alcoholics but nonsignificant for long term alcoholics, suggesting differential hemisphere sensitivity to the effects of chronic alcoholism with a consequent dissociation in factors related to intellectual functioning.