Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Binge drinking doesn't affect next-day student test-taking

Date:
March 23, 2010
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
In a first-of-its kind controlled experiment, researchers have found that surprisingly, binge drinking the night before a test does not impact college students' test performance -- although it can affect their moods, attention and reaction times.

In a first-of-its kind controlled experiment, researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Brown University have found that surprisingly, binge drinking the night before a test does not impact college students' test performance -- although it can affect their moods, attention and reaction times.

The study, which appears in the April 2010 edition of the journal Addiction, was conducted by Jonathan Howland, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH , and Damaris Rohsenow, research professor at Brown's Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.

The study found that intoxication in the evening did not affect students' next day scores on academic tests requiring long-term memory, or on tests of recently learned material. Binge drinking did, however, slow participants' attention/reaction times and worsen mood states -- impacts that could affect safety-related behaviors, such as driving.

Howland said the research team was surprised by the test-taking results because some prior studies have found that occupational performance was impaired the day after intoxication. But, he explained, "We looked at one particular academic outcome. Test-taking is only one measure of academic success."

The researchers also noted that binge drinking could affect other types of academic performance, such as essay-writing and problem-solving requiring higher-order cognitive skills.

"We do not conclude… that excessive drinking is not a risk factor for academic problems," the researchers wrote. "It is possible that a higher alcohol dose would have affected next-day academic test scores. Moreover, test-taking is only one factor in academic success. Study habits, motivation and class attendance also contribute to academic performance; each of these could be affected by intoxication."

While some previous studies, using surveys, have found that students who drink heavily have more academic difficulties than their peers who drink more moderately, this is the first study to examine that association by enrolling students in a controlled experiment, Howland said.

He said the study raises interesting questions about the effects of alcohol on specific cognitive skills and reaction/attention behavior -- questions that warrant further investigation.

The team of researchers tested 193 university students, ages 21 to 24, recruited from the Boston area. Over the course of four days -- one evening and the next morning, and then a second evening and morning a week later -- volunteer participants received either beer or nonalcoholic beer. They received the opposite drink the second time they were tested.

The morning after, participants were given the practice versions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), as well as a mock quiz on an academic lecture they received the previous afternoon. Students were monitored overnight by an emergency medical technician.

The study found that participants scored no differently on the GREs, or on the quizzes, whether they had consumed alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer. Howland noted that the scores on the GRE and quizzes were relatively high, showing that the students were taking the tests seriously. The researchers used different versions of the GREs, and quizzes on different lectures, that were comparable in difficulty.

In addition to Howland and Rohsenow, the study was co-authored by Jacey Greece, Alissa Almeida, Caroline A Littlefield, Timothy Heeren, Michael Winter, Caleb A. Bliss, Sarah Hunt and John Hermos, all at the Youth Alcohol Prevention Center at BUSPH, where the study was conducted.

The research was funded by the Youth Alcohol Prevention Center at BUSPH, a research center of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Howland et al. The effects of binge drinking on college students' next-day academic test-taking performance and mood state. Addiction, 2010; 105 (4): 655 DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02880.x

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Binge drinking doesn't affect next-day student test-taking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323161817.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2010, March 23). Binge drinking doesn't affect next-day student test-taking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323161817.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Binge drinking doesn't affect next-day student test-taking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100323161817.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins