April 1972

Specific vs Generalized Deficits of Abstracting Ability in Chronic Alcoholics

Author Affiliations

Oklahoma City
From the Division of Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(4):380-384. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750220090017

Generality of impairment in performance on abstracting tasks was investigated in male chronic alcoholics. Compared to a group of 26 matched hospital controls, the alcoholics performed significantly poorer on the Halstead Category test (P < 0.05) but not on the Shipley-Hartford verbal abstracting test or the Embedded Figures test. A second group of alcoholics (N = 37) also performed significantly poorer than controls (N = 31) on set I and II of the Advanced Raven's Progressive Matrices (P < 0.01). Alcoholics appear to exhibit a specific deficit on tasks involving visual spatial abstracting behavior and temporal or spatial integration. Neuropsychological hypotheses are advanced to account for this deficit.