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One Drink Can Make You Blind Drunk

  1. robin_himself
    Drivers beware! New research published today in Applied Cognitive Psychology finds that even having just one stiff drink can make you 'blind drunk.'

    The study showed that subjects who were mildly intoxicated (at half the legal intoxication limit in the US) were heavily compromised in their ability to notice an unexpected visual object when they were focused on another simple task.

    The phenomenon, known as 'Inattentional blindness' - where unexpected, yet salient objects appear in the visual fields but fail to be detected while subjects are focused on another task - has been demonstrated under various conditions, but this is the first instance to show that these visual errors become even more likely under the influence of alcohol.

    The experiment involved giving subjects 10 minutes to consume beverages which, unbeknownst to them either contained alcohol or did not. The subjects then watched 25 seconds of a video clip showing two teams of three people playing with a ball and were instructed to count the ball passes. Part way through the video clip, an individual dressed in a gorilla suit appeared on the screen, walked directly through the players, beat its chest and then walked away.. Subjects who were mildly intoxicated were twice as likely to miss seeing the gorilla, even though it had screen time of over a third of the video.

    Although the research did not directly test driving aptitude, the implications for driving could be serious. "We rely on our ability to perceive a multitude of information when we drive (speed limit, road signs, other cars, etc.) If even a mild dose of alcohol compromises our ability to take in some of this information, in other words, limits our attention span, then it seems likely that our driving ability may also be compromised." Says study lead author Dr. Seema Clifasefi of the University of Washington.

    "If you've had one drink, you may be so focused on paying attention to your speed so as not to get pulled over, that you completely miss seeing the pedestrian that walks directly in front of your car."

    www.interscience.wiley.com

Comments

  1. adzket
    this was used as part of an entertainment show about mind control and how much people are aware of there surroundings as well as looking at subliminal messaging. hear in the uk a few yrs back where they asked viewers to watch the screen and phone in if they noticed any thing odd, and if they did what it was. after a while in the second bit of show they re-showed the clip, slowed down so people could see what was in it, and how many people phoned in and got it right. so this research is either not true or invalid at least. but i do agree that if soba people can miss this then drunk or intoxicated people would be more likely to miss it.
  2. robin_himself
    "Ape-earances" Can Be Deceiving For Many Under The Influence Of Alcohol

    It's pretty difficult to overlook the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, or even an average-size person dressed in a gorilla suit. But a new study indicates that people who were given a simple visual task while mildly intoxicated were twice as likely to have missed seeing the person in a gorilla suit than were people who were not under the influence of alcohol.

    The study, appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, is the first to show visual errors caused by "inattentional blindness" are more likely to occur under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon occurs when important, but unexpected, objects appear in the visual field but are not detected when people are focused on another task, according to Seema Clifasefi, a postdoctoral psychology researcher at the University of Washington.

    While the research, a pilot study, did not test driving aptitude, the study has strong implications for people operating motor vehicles after consuming alcohol, according to Clifasefi, who is affiliated with the UW's Addictive Behaviors Research Center.

    "Driving requires our full attention. We need to perceive information from a variety of sources when we are driving, but alcohol reduces our ability to multi-task. So we focus on one thing at the expense of everything else," she said.

    "Say you have been at a party and are driving home after having a couple of drinks. You don't want to be stopped for speeding, so you keep eyeing the speedometer. Our research shows that you will miss other things going on around you, perhaps even a pedestrian trying to cross the street." In the study, 46 adults ranging in age from 21 to 35 were brought into a bar-like setting. Half of them were given drinks containing alcohol to bring their blood alcohol level up to 0.04 - half the legal level for being drunk in most states. The other half were given drinks containing no liquor.

    After the volunteers had their blood alcohol levels measured by a breath test, they were taken to a computer monitor and asked to watch a 25-second film clip. The clip showed people playing with a ball and the volunteers were told to count the number of times the ball was passed from one person to another. In the middle of the clip a person dressed in a gorilla suit appeared, walked among the players, beat its chest and then walked away.

    Afterward, the subjects were asked if they saw the gorilla. Just 18 percent of the drinkers said they noticed the gorilla while 46 percent of the sober subjects indicated they saw the gorilla.

    In the future, Clifasefi hopes to do a larger study testing inattentional blindness using a driving simulator.

    www.uwnews.org
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