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Alcohol’s effect on immediate and future orientation as measured by the Considerations of Future Consequences Scale

Authors Angelica Hagsand
Amelia Mindthoff
Jacqueline Evans
Nadja Schreiber Compo
Published in Poster presented at the 28th annual Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) (Turku, Finland).
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords alcohol, intoxication, future consequences, immediate concerns,
Subject categories Psychology


Objectives: Many victims, witnesses, and suspects are intoxicated at the time of the crime and during the initial investigation. For example, over 80% of a U.S. law enforcement sample reported that contact with intoxicated suspects was common (Evans et al., 2009). In the U.S., intoxicated suspects are routinely interrogated using similar techniques to sober suspects (Evans et al., 2009; Palmer et al., 2013). However, very little is known about the effects of intoxication in legal contexts, including how intoxication impacts thinking about future consequences. The present study examined how intoxication affects future thinking. Method: Participants were recruited for a study about drinking and cognitive processing. After an extensive medical screening, eligible participants consumed three beverages containing either juice or juice and vodka, depending on the randomly assigned condition (i.e., intoxicated, placebo, sober control). The intoxicated group was expected to reach a breath alcohol concentration of .08%. One hour after the start of consumption, all participants completed the Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) scale (Strathman et al., 1994), requiring participants to rate the extent to which certain immediate-oriented (e.g., “I only act to satisfy immediate concerns…”) and future-oriented (e.g., “I consider how things might be in the future…”) behaviors are self-characteristic. Results: Findings indicate that intoxicated participants tend to focus more on the present, as compared to placebo and sober participants. Conclusions: Focus on immediate concerns might result in detrimental consequences for intoxicated persons during investigative interviews or interrogations (e.g., waiving their Miranda rights or incriminating themselves).

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