The majority of research examining gender differences in alcohol impairment has found greater impairment in women. However, some studies report greater responsivity in men, particularly in situations involving competing response tendencies (e.g., inhibitory control and aggression tasks), suggesting that response conflict could account for these contradictory findings. Drawing on data from previous experiments conducted in our laboratory, the current study examined this hypothesis by comparing the alcohol sensitivity of gender groups on a broad range of behavioral tasks. Tasks were categorized as high or low conflict based on whether tasks involved competing response tendencies. Results showed that women displayed greater impairment from alcohol than men on low conflict tasks, and men were more impaired than women on high conflict tasks. These findings suggest that response conflict might play an important role in the occasional and contradictory observations in which men demonstrate more intense behavioral reactions to alcohol than women.
Keywords: Gender differences, alcohol sensitivity, response conflict, Alcohol Impairment, dexterity tests, gross motor control, placebo condition, Giancola, Taylor Aggression Paradigm, tendencies, ADHD, conflict scenarios, cognitive, head trauma, Michigan Alcoholism, Familiarization, Indianapolis, Intoxilyzer, unambiguous, isomorphic, STISIM Drive, Hawthorne, CA, Monetary reinforcement, PDHQ, ANOVAs, low conflict tasks, neurologically, inappropriate behavioral, ubiquitous, generalizability, homogenous, alcohol-related problems, responsiveness
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