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Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2018 Feb;18(1):43-57. doi: 10.3758/s13415-017-0551-7.

Altered oscillatory brain dynamics of emotional processing in young binge drinkers.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA.
2
Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA. kmarinkovic@mail.sdsu.edu.
4
Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA. kmarinkovic@mail.sdsu.edu.

Abstract

Heavy episodic drinking, also termed binge drinking, is commonly practiced by young adults. It is accompanied by a range of cognitive, affective, and social problems, but the neural dynamics underlying changes in emotional functions is poorly understood. To investigate the behavioral and brain indices of affective processing as a function of binge drinking, young, healthy participants (23.3 ± 3.3 years) were assigned to two groups (n = 32 each) based on their drinking habits. Binge drinking (BD) participants reported drinking heavily with at least five binge episodes in the last 6 months, whereas light drinkers (LD) reported no more than one binge episode in the last 6 months. Participants provided subjective ratings of emotionally evocative images with negative, positive, erotic, and neutral themes mostly selected from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). Electroencephalography (EEG) signal was recorded with a 64-channel system and analyzed in theta frequency band (4-7 Hz) with Morlet wavelets. Subjective ratings of the IAPS pictures were equivalent across both groups. However, affective modulation of event-related theta power both during early appraisal and later integrative processing stages was attenuated in BD, particularly those engaging in high-intensity drinking. These findings suggest that binge drinking is associated with altered neurophysiological indices of affective functions that are reflected in lower theta responsivity to emotions. The blunted long-range cortico-cortical and corticolimbic integration is consistent with compromised affective functions in alcohol use disorder. These findings may have implications for diagnostic and intervention strategies in heavy alcohol users.

KEYWORDS:

Binge drinking; EEG; Emotional processing; International Affective Picture System; Theta oscillations

PMID:
29127656
PMCID:
PMC5825242
DOI:
10.3758/s13415-017-0551-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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