Cognitive performance and autonomic reactivity in abstinent drug abusers and nonusers

Diana Fishbein, Chris Hyde, Diana Eldreth, Edythe B. London, John Matochik, Monique Ernst, Nancy Isenberg, Stacey Steckley, Barry Schech, Alane Kimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In this study the authors compared the performance of abstinent drug abusers (n = 21) and nonuser control participants (n = 20) in neurocognitive and emotional functions by use of the Rogers Decision Making Task, Gambling Task, Emotional Stroop, impulsivity continuous performance task (CPT), and vigilance CPT. Skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR) monitoring was synchronized with task performance. Groups showed similar performance for vigilance, impulsivity, and emotional interference; however, drug abusers showed stronger SC responses. Drug abusers performed more poorly on the Gambling and Rogers Decision Making Tasks. When making risky decisions, drug abusers showed significantly less increase in SC activity than controls and exhibited lower HRs throughout performance on all tasks. In conclusion, complex tasks involving decision making, sensitivity to consequences, and emotional regulation discriminated between drug abusers and controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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