The alcohol facilitation effect on memory: a dose-response study

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1981;74(1):88-92. doi: 10.1007/BF00431763.


Sixteen normal male subjects participated in four sessions where they studied a set of pictures followed by either placebo, 0.025, 0.50, or 1.0 ml/kg alcohol. Later, when sober, recognition memory was tested. These doses resulted in peak blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.00, 0.018, 0.034, and 0.067 g/100 ml, respectively. The 1.0 and 0.50 ml/kg doses significantly improved memory for pictures studied before drinking. Alcohol appears to enhance memory directly rather than indirectly via a reduction in interference. It is suggested that a particular phase of the rising blood alcohol curve (0.02-0.03 g/100 ml) facilitates trace consolidation. The facilitating and possibly excitatory effects of alcohol may be important for understanding the rewarding aspects of drinking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects*


  • Ethanol