Moderate acute alcohol intoxication has minimal effect on surround suppression measured with a motion direction discrimination task

J. C. A. Read, R. Georgiou, C. Brash, P. Yazdani, R. Whittaker, A. J. Trevelyan, I. Serrano-Pedraza
2015 Journal of Vision  
A well-studied paradox of motion perception is that, in order to correctly judge direction in high-contrast stimuli, subjects need to observe motion for longer in large stimuli than in small stimuli. This effect is one of several perceptual effects known generally as "surround suppression." It is usually attributed to center-surround antagonism between neurons in visual cortex, believed to be mediated by GABAergic inhibition. Accordingly, several studies have reported that this index of
more » ... is index of surround suppression is reduced in groups known to have reduced GABA-ergic inhibition, including older people and people with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. In this study, we examined the effect on this index of moderate amounts of ethanol alcohol. Among its many effects on the nervous system, alcohol potentiates GABA-ergic transmission. We therefore hypothesized that it should further impair the perception of motion in large stimuli, resulting in a stronger surround-suppression index. This prediction was not borne out. Alcohol consumption slightly worsened duration thresholds for both large and small stimuli, but their ratio did not change significantly.
doi:10.1167/15.1.5 pmid:25583875 fatcat:xt5erv6irbdanpeodudkvy36tq