Groupdrink: The effects of alcohol and group process on vigilance errors

Daniel Frings, Tim Hopthrow, Dominic Abrams, Lorne Hulbert, Roberto Gutierrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
401 Downloads (Pure)


This research examined how group processes alter the impact of alcohol on a judgment task requiring vigilance. The authors compared two competing explanations, deindividuation and group monitoring, for the possible effects of alcohol. Two hundred and eighty-six undergraduates with normal drinking habits undertook a vigilance task alone or in four-person groups having consumed either alcohol (calculated to achieve up to .08 blood alcohol content) or a placebo. The vigilance task required them to count occurrences of the word "the" in a spoken passage. Alcohol significantly impaired the performance of individuals but not groups. Group members performed at a similar level in both conditions, making fewer errors than individuals in the alcohol condition. The fit of different decision-making models were tested. In both the alcohol and placebo conditions, group consensus was predicted by processes consistent with the group monitoring hypothesis. The evidence highlights that under certain conditions, group process can compensate for the cognitively impairing effects of alcohol on individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalGroup Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • *Ethanol, *Group Decision Making, *Judgment, *Monitoring, *Vigilance, Alcohol Intoxication, Social Influences


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