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Psychophysiology. 2018 Aug;55(8):e13081. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13081. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Alcohol hangover impacts learning and reward processing within the medial-frontal cortex.

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Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


It is common knowledge that alcohol intoxication impairs motor coordination, judgment, and decision making. Indeed, an abundance of literature links intoxication to impaired cognitive control that leads to accidents and injury. A broadening body of research, however, suggests that the impact of alcohol may continue beyond the point of intoxication and into the period of alcohol hangover. Here, we examined differences in the amplitude of reward positivity-a component of the human ERP associated with learning-between control and hangover participants. During performance of a learnable gambling task, we found a reduction in the reward positivity during alcohol hangover. Additionally, participants experiencing alcohol hangover demonstrated reduced performance in the experimental task in comparison to their nonhangover counterparts. Our results suggest that the neural systems that underlie performance monitoring and reward-based learning are impaired during alcohol hangover.


EEG; ERP; FRN; alcohol/alcoholism; reward positivity; reward processing


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