Impaired decision making on the Balloon Analogue Risk Task as a result of long-term alcohol use Academic Article uri icon


  • The Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) is an experimental measure of risk taking that has commonly been employed to measure the risk taking behavior of nonclinical populations. Previous research has indicated that the task measures a unique aspect of behavioral disinhibition, but there has not as yet been focus upon the possible impact of other aspects of cognitive processing on performance. The current study investigated the cognitive factors related to performance of the BART in an alcohol-using sample. Seventeen individuals with long-term alcohol use were matched for age and education to a group of 17 nonusing participants. The results indicated that the alcohol-using group pumped the balloons on the BART to a lesser extent than did the nonusing group across all trials on the task. The results indicate that the alcohol-using group made less "optimal" decisions on the BART most notably due to neuropsychological impairment in the domains of immediate memory and executive functioning.

publication date

  • December 2013