Blood alcohol level discrimination by alcoholics: The role of internal and external cues

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Abstract

Two groups of 4 chronic alcoholics lived in Rutgers' Alcohol Behavior Research Laboratory for separate 2-wk periods. During that time, Ss were taught to attend either to internal or to external cues to blood alcohol level (BAL). Mean age of the internal group was 36.2 yrs, and that of the external was 35.7 yrs. Internal Ss completed the Body Sensation Checklist and the Mood Adjective Check List. During a single training session, Ss received feedback on actual BAL following each of their BAL estimates. During pretraining and posttraining sessions, assessments of BAL estimation accuracy were obtained in the absence of feedback. Prior to training, both groups were equally inaccurate in estimating BAL. During training, when accurate BAL feedback was provided, estimation accuracy increased significantly for both groups. Once feedback of actual BAL was removed during the posttraining test session, however, only externally trained Ss maintained the ability to estimate BAL accurately. It is concluded that unlike the nonalcoholic Ss studied by H. Huber, R. Karlin, and A. E. Nathan (1976), the alcoholic Ss of the present study did not learn to discriminate BAL on the basis of internal feelings and sensations nearly as adequately as they did when they referred to external cues. It is suggested that these findings may have important implications for the clinical application of BAL discrimination training. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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