Tick-tock goes the croc: A high-density EEG study of risk-reactivity and binge-drinking

John E. Kiat, Jacob E. Cheadle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Links between individual differences in risk processing and high-risk behaviors such as binge-drinking have long been the focus of active research. However, investigations in this area almost exclusively utilize decision-making focused paradigms. This emphasis makes it difficult to assess links between risk behaviors and raw risk reactivity independent of decision and feedback processes. A deeper understanding of this association has the potential to shed light on the role of risk reactivity in high-risk behavior susceptibility. To contribute toward this aim, this study utilizes a popular risk-taking game, the crocodile dentist, to assess links between individual differences in decision-free risk-reactivity and reported binge-drinking frequency levels. In this task, participants engage in a series of decision-free escalating risk responses. Risk-reactivity was assessed by measuring late positive potential responses toward risk-taking action initiation cues using high-density 256-Channel EEG. The results indicate that, after controlling for overall alcohol consumption frequency, higher rates of reported binge-drinking are associated with both increased general risk-taking responsivity and increased risk-reactivity escalation as a function of risk level. These findings highlight intriguing links between risk reactivity and binge-drinking frequency, making key contributions in the areas of risk-taking and affective science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Alcohol
  • Binge-drinking
  • EEG
  • ERP
  • Risk-reactivity
  • Risk-taking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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