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Even abstinence can make one intoxicated

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jul 01, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study by New Zealand's Victoria University indicates just the belief that one is drinking alcohol can impair judgment and interfere with memory.

Psychologists Seema Assefi and Maryanne Garry told the BBC research participants who were told they were drinking vodka, but were actually not, were more swayed by misleading information and more certain their memory was correct than those told they were drinking tonic water.

Garry says the research has given new insights into how human memory works and how both social and non-social influences can affect a person's recall of events.

For the study, 148 students were divided; with one-half told they were consuming vodka and tonic and the rest told they were consuming just tonic water. In reality, all were drinking just plain tonic.

The scientists said they found people who thought they were intoxicated were more suggestible and made worse eyewitnesses, compared with those who thought they were sober

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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