Dissociative effects of alcohol on recollective experience

Consciousness and Cognition 8 (4):497-509 (1999)
This article reports a study comparing the effects of a single dose of alcohol with a matched placebo drink on recognition memory with and without conscious recollection. A double-blind, cross-over design was used with healthy volunteers who were all social drinkers. Processing depth at study was manipulated using generate versus read instructions. Conscious recollection at test was assessed using the remember-know-guess paradigm (Gardiner, 1988; Tulving, 1985). Alcohol significantly reduced conscious recollection (remember responses) but had no effect on recognition in the absence of conscious recollection (know responses). False alarms rates were low and unaffected by alcohol. Previous findings that generation effects are found only for remember responses were closely replicated. A further dissociation of the generation effect occurred between treatments in that deeper processing at study facilitated recognition on placebo but not on alcohol. That both alcohol and depth of processing produce dissociative effects on recollective experience provides further evidence that remembering and knowing reflect distinct memory systems.
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