Word fluency deficits among users of MDMA (ecstasy)

C. Montgomery, P. Murphy, J. Fisk, R. Newcombe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Aims & Objectives: Word fluency is a long established measure of executive functioning. As well as depending on executive resources (localised in the pre-frontal areas), word fluency is also thought to load on the temporal lobes. Users of MDMA (‘Ecstasy’) exhibit deficits in recall tests, which also load on the temporal lobes, and in measures of executive prefrontal functioning. This raises the possibility that MDMA users will also exhibit deficits in a word fluency task. Design & Method: 25 ecstasy users and 31 nonecstasy users were recruited. A multivariate design was implemented with user group (ecstasy user/non-user) as the between participants variable, and the three word fluency measures as the dependent variables. The task consisted of three parts: Firstly participants were given four minutes to write down as many animal names as they could. Secondly participants were given five minutes to write down as many words beginning with the letter ‘S’ as they could. And finally, participants were given four minutes to write down as many four-letter words as they could beginning with ‘C’. Results: MANOVA revealed that the ecstasy users performed significantly worse on all three word fluency measures relative to non-MDMA user controls. The overall effects of ecstasy on word fluency remained significant after statistical controls for the use of cannabis during the three months prior to testing. Control for measures of verbal working memory reduced the MDMA related variance by almost one half, but the effect remained statistically significant. Conclusion: The results provide additional evidence of executive impairment among MDMA users.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Apr 2004 → …


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period1/04/04 → …


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