Home > Inhibitory-control event-related potentials correlate with individual differences in alcohol use.

O'Halloran, Laura and Rueda-Delgado, Laura M and Jollans, Lee and Cao, Zhipeng and Boyle, Rory and Vaughan, Christina and Coey, Phillip and Whelan, Robert (2020) Inhibitory-control event-related potentials correlate with individual differences in alcohol use. Addiction Biology, 25, (2), e12729. doi: 10.1111/adb.12729.

Impulsivity is a multidimensional construct that is related to different aspects of alcohol use, abuse, and dependence. Inhibitory control, one facet of impulsivity, can be assayed using the stop-signal task (SST) and quantified behaviorally via the stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) and electrophysiologically using event-related potentials (ERPs).

Research on the relationship between alcohol use and SSRTs, and between alcohol use and inhibitory-control ERPs, is mixed. Here, adult alcohol users (n = 79), with a wide range of scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), completed the SST under electroencephalography (EEG) (70% of participants had AUDIT total scores greater than or equal to 8). Other measures, including demographic, self-report, and task-based measures of impulsivity, personality, and psychological factors, were also recorded. A machine-learning method with penalized linear regression was used to correlate individual differences in alcohol use with impulsivity measures. Four separate models were tested, with out-of-sample validation used to quantify performance. ERPs alone statistically predicted alcohol use (cross-validated r = 0.28), with both early and late ERP components contributing to the model (larger N2, but smaller P3, amplitude). Behavioral data from a wide range of impulsivity measures were also associated with alcohol use (r = 0.37). SSRT was a relatively weak statistical predictor, whereas the Stroop interference effect was relatively strong. The addition of nonimpulsivity behavioral measures did not improve the correlation (r = 0.34) and was similar when ERPs were combined with non-ERP data (r = 0.29). These findings show that inhibitory control ERPs are robustly correlated individual differences in alcohol use.

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