This study has now closed.

We are looking for social drinkers to take part in a study testing what effect alcohol has on social, emotional processes and reward processing.

You will be asked to attend two separate sessions, scheduled one week apart. Each session will last around 2.5-3 hours. During these sessions, you will be given two drinks to consume that will contain tonic water, chilli and either alcohol or no alcohol across 20 minutes. In the alcohol session, the amount of alcohol given will be equivalent to a maximum of 4 standard drinks.

Following this, you will be asked to do several things. You will first complete a task that will look at your ‘startle reflex’ (your eye-blink) to brief noises presented through headphones. We will look at your startle reflex using electromyography (EMG), which measures the movement of your facial muscles.

After this, you will complete a series of computer tasks that involve empathy for others, making simple judgments while viewing emotional face stimuli, and making decisions about offers of money. Throughout each session, you will also be asked to complete some questionnaires on your alcohol use, mood over the last two weeks, and characteristics about you.

You will also be asked to provide a breath sample to an alcohol breathalyser several times during each session and will be breathalysed before commencing each study to insure you have a blood‐alcohol content (BAC) of 0.00%. You will also be breathalysed before the end of each session until your BAC below 0.04%, and you will be asked to remain in the research room until then to ensure your safety.

Participant benefits

You will be compensated $50 upon completion of the study.


  • Are 18-65 years old
  • Use alcohol socially
  • BMI between 18-30
  • Must not use alcohol or over-the-counter pain medications for at least 24 hours prior to each session
  • Must not be using psychoactive medications, antibiotics or other medications known to be affected by alcohol
  • Must not drive any vehicle or operate machinery for the rest of the day following each session
  • Must not have a known hearing impairment
  • Normal/corrected-to-normal vision
  • Are not pregnant/breastfeeding

Register your interest

If you are interested in participating, please email

This study has been approved by The University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee [Approval No. 2021/HE000057]