Preliminary evidence of reduced cognitive inhibition in methamphetamine-dependent individuals

Ruth Salo, Thomas E. Nordahl, Kate Possin, Martin Leamon, David R. Gibson, Gantt P. Galloway, Neil M. Flynn, Avishai Henik, Adolf Pfefferbaum, Edith V. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Chronic methamphetamine abuse is associated with disruption of frontostriatal function involving serotonin and dopamine circuitry. Clinically, methamphetamine-dependent (MD) individuals are highly distractible and have difficulty focussing. Here, we used a computerized single-trial version of the Stroop Test to examine selective attention and priming in MD. Subject groups comprised eight MD men (31.7±7.2 years of age), who had used methamphetamine for 15.75±8.4 years but were currently abstinent for 2-4 months, and 12 controls (35.7+9.7 years of age). Compared with the control group, the MD group exhibited significantly greater interference (P<0.05) despite intact priming. Error rates did not differ between the groups. This preliminary finding of reduced cognitive inhibition in MD individuals is consistent with the distractibility they show clinically. Furthermore, the dissociation between explicit attentional performance and priming effects suggests that some attentional functions are not as affected by long-term methamphetamine use as others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2002


  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Methamphetamine
  • Stroop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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