Exaggerated waiting impulsivity associated with human binge drinking, and high alcohol consumption in mice

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Dec;39(13):2919-27. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.151. Epub 2014 Jun 20.


There are well-established links between impulsivity and alcohol use in humans and animal models; however, whether exaggerated impulsivity is a premorbid risk factor or a consequence of alcohol intake remains unclear. In a first approach, human young (18-25 years) social binge and non-binge drinkers were tested for motor impulsivity and attentional abilities in a human version of the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (Sx-5CSRTT), modeled on the rodent 5CSRTT. Participants completed four variants of the Sx-5CSRT, in addition to being screened for impulsive traits (BIS-11 questionnaire) and impulsive behavior (by means of the Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm (TCIP), Stop Signal Reaction Time, and Time Estimation Task). Using a second approach, we compared one of these impulsivity measures, 5CSRTT performance, in two inbred strains of mice known to differ in alcohol intake. Compared with non-bingers (NBD; n=22), binge drinkers (BD, n=22) showed robust impairments in attention and premature responding when evaluated under increased attentional load, in addition to presenting deficits in decision making using the TCIP. The best predictors for high binge drinking score were premature responding in the Sx-5CSRTT, trait impulsivity in the BIS-11, and decision making in the TCIP. Alcohol-naïve C57BL/6J (B6) mice (alcohol preferring) were more impulsive in the 5CSRTT than DBA2/J (D2) mice (alcohol averse); the degree of impulsivity correlated with subsequent alcohol consumption. Homologous measures in animal and human studies indicate increased premature responding in young social BD and in the ethanol-preferring B6 strain of mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Binge Drinking / complications*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult