Inattention, impulsive action, and subjective response to D-amphetamine

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Nov 1;133(1):127-33. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.05.021. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


Background: Both impulsivity and sensitivity to the rewarding effects of drugs have long been considered risk factors for drug abuse. There is some preclinical evidence to suggest that the two are related; however, there is little information about how specific behavioral components of impulsivity are related to the acute euphorigenic effects of drugs in humans. The aim of the current study was to examine the degree to which both inattention and impulsive action predicted subjective response to amphetamine.

Methods: Healthy adults (n=165) performed the behavioral tasks and rated their subjective response to amphetamine (0, 5, 10, and 20 mg). Inattention was assessed as attention lapses on a simple reaction time task, and impulsive action was measured by stop RT on the stop task. Subjective response to amphetamine was assessed with the Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS).

Results: Hierarchical linear regression analyses showed significant negative associations between attention lapses and subjective response to amphetamine on DEQ measures. By contrast, stop RT was positively associated with responses on both DEQ and POMS measures. Additionally, a dose-response relationship was observed, such that the strength of these associations increased with higher doses of amphetamine.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that inattention is associated with less subjective response to amphetamine. By contrast, the heightened sensitivity to stimulant drug reward observed in individuals high in impulsive action suggests that this might be one mechanism contributing to increased risk for stimulant drug abuse in these individuals.

Keywords: Amphetamine; Humans; Impulsive action; Inattention; Subjective effects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / drug effects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dextroamphetamine