Is there room for attentional impairments in binge drinking? A commentary on Carbia et al. (2018)

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2019 Mar:98:58-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.01.006. Epub 2019 Jan 7.


Binge drinking is an excessive pattern of alcohol use, highly prevalent in adolescents and young adults. Several studies have explored the cognitive impairments associated with binge drinking, and Carbia et al. (2018) recently proposed a systematic review of these impairments. Although this review offers an insightful and up-to-date synthesis of this research field, the authors concluded that binge drinking is not associated with attentional impairments. We argue that such conclusion is premature. We identified published studies not mentioned by Carbia et al. (2018), which documented attentional impairments in binge drinking. In particular, a differential exploration of attentional networks has suggested that binge drinkers not only exhibit impairments for the executive control of attention, but also for its alerting network. We thus recommend a better consideration of attention in future experimental and translational research agendas.

Keywords: Alerting; Attention; Attentional networks; Binge drinking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Executive Function / drug effects*
  • Humans


  • Ethanol