Visual and auditory contextual cues differentially influence alcohol-related inhibitory control

Adam Qureshi, Rebecca Monk, Charlotte Pennington, Xiaoyun Li, Thomas Leatherbarrow, Jennifer R. Oulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
109 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Representing a more immersive testing environment, the current study exposed individuals to both alcohol-related visual and auditory cues to assess their respective impact on alcohol-related inhibitory control. It examined further whether individual variation in alcohol consumption and trait effortful control may predict inhibitory control performance. Method: Twenty-five U.K. university students (Mage = 23.08, SD = 8.26) completed an anti-saccade eye-tracking task and were instructed to look towards (pro) or directly away (anti) from alcohol-related and neutral visual stimuli. Short alcohol-related sound cues (bar audio) were played on 50% of trials and were compared with responses where no sounds were played. Results: Findings indicate that participants launched more incorrect saccades towards alcohol-related visual stimuli on anti-saccade trials, and responded quicker to alcohol on pro-saccade trials. Alcohol-related audio cues reduced latencies for both pro- and anti-saccade trials and reduced anti-saccade error rates to alcohol-related visual stimuli. Controlling for trait effortful control and problem alcohol consumption removed these effects. Conclusion: These findings suggest that alcohol-related visual cues may be associated with reduced inhibitory control, evidenced by increased errors and faster response latencies. The presentation of alcohol-related auditory cues, however, appears to enhance performance accuracy. It is postulated that auditory cues may re-contextualise visual stimuli into a more familiar setting that reduces their saliency and lessens their attentional pull.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Alcohol consumption
  • inhibitory control
  • context effects
  • anti-saccade
  • effortful control


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