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Binge drinking is now considered a central public health issue and is associated with emotional and interpersonal problems, but the neural implications of these deficits remain unexplored. The present study aimed at offering the first insights into the effects of binge drinking on the neural processing of vocal affect. On the basis of an alcohol-consumption screening phase (204 students), 24 young adults (12 binge drinkers and 12 matched controls, mean age: 23.8 years) were selected and performed an emotional categorisation task on morphed vocal stimuli (drawn from a morphed fear–anger continuum) during fMRI scanning. In comparison to controls, binge drinkers presented (1) worse behavioural performance in emotional affect categorisation; (2) reduced activation of bilateral superior temporal gyrus; and (3) increased activation of right middle frontal gyrus. These results constitute the first evidence of altered cerebral processing of emotional stimuli in binge drinking and confirm that binge drinking leads to marked cerebral changes, which has important implications for research and clinical practice.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-225
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2013
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