Last updated on March 2019

Alcoholism: Emotion and Thinking

Brief description of study

The purpose of this study is to determine whether long-term chronic alcoholism is associated with changes in emotional functioning and brain structure and function.

Detailed Study Description

This research investigates brain structure and function in alcoholics compared to healthy nonalcoholic individuals. Alcoholics have shown impairments in cognitive processing of emotional signals. Some alcoholics are impaired in social skills, and many are unable to implement the strategies for interpersonal interactions that they recommend for themselves. For example, alcoholics have difficulty interpreting non-verbal emotional cues and recognizing facial expressions of emotion. When listening to sentences, alcoholics also have some difficulty judging emotional intonations and emotional content. In our research, we are trying to understand where in the brain these emotional behaviors take place, and whether or not the brain functions differently for alcoholic and nonalcoholic individuals. We present emotional words and pictures on a computer screen, and using MRI scans, we observe how the brain works when people purposefully respond to the words and pictures. Additionally, we are comparing brain structure and activation patterns in men and women, because there may be gender differences in responses to emotional stimuli.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT00300638

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Recruitment Status: Open

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