Main content area

A history of adolescent binge drinking in humans is associated with impaired self-movement cue processing on manipulatory scale navigation tasks

Blankenship, Philip A., Blackwell, Ashley A., Ebrahimi, Nader, Benson, James D., Wallace, Douglas G.
Physiology & behavior 2016 v.161 pp. 130-139
adolescence, adolescents, alcohol drinking, binging, brain, college students, humans, neurodevelopment
A binge drinking pattern of alcohol consumption has been shown to have an impact on brain structures that continue to develop into late adolescence. These same brain structures have been implicated in processing self-movement cues. The current study applies an array of existing and novel kinematic analysis techniques to characterize performance on manipulatory scale tasks to assess spatial orientation deficits associated with a history of adolescent binge drinking. Using kinematic analysis techniques, a history of adolescent binge drinking in university students was associated with disruptions in outward segment movement organization and less accurate direction and distance estimation in a dead reckoning task. Similar disruptions in performance were found in the bead maze task in the first training block; however, no group differences were observed on subsequent blocks of place training. This is the first study to demonstrate a relationship between adolescent binge drinking in humans and impaired processing of self-movement cues. This pattern of results demonstrates the potential of manipulatory-scale spatial tasks to detect differences in information processing associated with factors known to disrupt normal central nervous system development.