Provocation, acute alcohol intoxication, cognitive performance, and aggression

J Abnorm Psychol. 1995 Feb;104(1):150-5. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.104.1.150.


This study investigated the relationships between provocation, acute alcohol intoxication, impaired frontal-lobe function, and aggressive behavior. The authors ranked 114 men according to their performance on two neuropsychological tests associated with frontal-lobe function. Forty-eight men (24 with scores in the upper and 24 with scores in the lower performance quartiles) participated in the full study. Half completed and aggression task while intoxicated, the remainder while sober. Aggression was defined as shock intensity delivered to a sham opponent. Shock intensity significantly increased as a main effect of provocation, alcohol intoxication, and lower cognitive performance. Furthermore, provocation interacted significantly with test performance such that individuals in the lower cognitive performance quartile responded to increased provocation with heightened aggression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Electroshock
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold