Drinking history and sex of subject in the effects of alcohol on perception and perceptual-motor coordination

Int J Addict. 1982 Apr;17(3):445-62. doi: 10.3109/10826088209064050.


Previous investigations of the effects of alcohol on eye-hand coordination have failed to assess the degree to which each of the individual components of this task--vision and proprioception--is affected by the drug. Such a "microanalysis" was performed in the present experiment in the context of a prism adaptation paradigm, as well as tasks involving mirror tracing and dart throwing. Twenty male and 20 female subjects were divided into equal subgroups of "heavy" and "light" drinkers. In the prism adaptation situation each subject was tested on three tasks--visual straight ahead (the visual task), pointing straight ahead (the proprioception task), and visual target pointing (the visuomotor coordination task)--before and after ingestion of either an alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage. Measures of adaptation to 11-degree prismatic displacement were also obtained. Little evidence for interactive effects between subject's sex or drinking history and alcohol was obtained. However, there was a tendency for alcohol to retard prism adaptation and to affect the felt position of both manual limbs as well as apparent visual direction. In addition, alcoholic intoxication impaired performance on the mirror-tracing task but, surprisingly, had no effect on dart throwing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / drug effects*
  • Perception / drug effects*
  • Proprioception / drug effects*
  • Sex Factors
  • Visual Perception / drug effects*


  • Ethanol