Retrieval failures in alcohol state-dependent learning

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21 Scopus citations


Retrieval processes subject to disruption by alteration of drug conditions were studied in a state-dependent learning experiment. On the first day of the 2-day experiment, 28 human subjects performed four verbal learning tasks in either an alcohol state (1.0 ml/kg) or a sober state, and the next day they attempted to recall the material in either the same or in an altered condition. Two of the tasks involved recall cues or prompts, and the other two required the subjects to recall the material unaided. Results indicated state-dependency on the two tasks that did not involve recall cues and no state-dependency on the two tasks involving cues. This finding indicates that memory failures resulting from a changed drug state can be reversed by appropriate experimental cueing or prompting, and implies that a learner's drug state has stimulus properties for recall. The role of drugs in contributing to a person's cognitive context and the resultant effects on memory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1977


  • Alcohol
  • Memory
  • State-dependent learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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