Background: Deficient response inhibition (disinhibition) may play a causal role in alcohol abuse, with impaired inhibition occurring prior to, and acting as a risk factor for, subsequent alcohol problems. We experimentally primed either disinhibited or restrained behaviour while participants completed a Stop-Signal task, before examining the effects on alcohol-seeking behaviour. Methods: Fifty three social drinkers completed a Stop-Signal task following instructions that either emphasised rapid responding at the expense of successful inhibition (Disinhibition group) or vice versa (Restrained group). Subsequent ad lib alcohol-seeking was measured with a bogus taste test. Results: As predicted, participants in the Disinhibition group consumed more beer during the taste test compared to participants in the Restrained group. Furthermore, within the Restrained group only, correlations indicated that those participants who responded more cautiously during the Stop-Signal task subsequently consumed less beer. Conclusions: An experimental manipulation of response set during a response inhibition task, emphasising either restrained or disinhibited responding, has a causal influence on alcohol-seeking behaviour in social drinkers. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
- response inhibition
- stop-signal task