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The extrastriate symmetry response is robust to alcohol intoxication.
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  • Elena Karakashevska,
  • Yiovanna Derpsch,
  • Andrew Jones,
  • Alexis Makin
Elena Karakashevska
University of Liverpool

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yiovanna Derpsch
University of Liverpool
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Andrew Jones
Liverpool John Moores University
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Alexis Makin
University of Liverpool
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Visual symmetry activates a network of regions in the extrastriate cortex and generates an event related potential (ERP) called the sustained posterior negativity (SPN). Previous work has found that the SPN is robust to experimental manipulations of task, spatial attention, and memory load. In the current study, we investigated whether the SPN is also robust to alcohol induced changes in mental state. A pilot experiment (N = 13) found that alcohol unexpectedly increased SPN amplitude. We followed this unexpected result with two new experiments on separate groups, using an alcohol challenge paradigm. One group completed an Oddball discrimination task (N = 26). Another group completed a Regularity discrimination task (N =26). In both groups participants consumed a medium dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg body weight) and placebo drink, in separate sessions. Alcohol reduced SPN amplitude in the Oddball task (contrary to the pilot results) but had no effect on SPN amplitude in the Regularity task. In contrast, the N1 wave was consistently dampened by alcohol in all experiments. Exploratory analysis indicated that the inconsistent effect of alcohol on SPN amplitude may be partly explained by individual differences in alcohol use. Alcohol reduced the SPN in light drinkers and increased it in heavier drinkers. Despite remaining questions, the results highlight the automaticity of symmetry processing. Symmetry still produces a large SPN response, even when participants are intoxicated, and even when symmetry is not task relevant.
25 Sep 2023Submitted to Psychophysiology
30 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
30 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
30 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Nov 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned