Benzodiazepine-induced impairment of matching-to-sample performance in humans

J. D. Roache, D. R. Cherek, R. Spiga, R. H. Bennett, K. A. Cowan, J. Yingling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The effects of benzodiazepines on a visual pattern matching-to-sample (MTS) task were examined in nine healthy male volunteers. The MTS task employed randomly generated checkerboard-like stimuli presented on a video display. The sample and two comparison stimuli were simultaneously presented. Nonmatching comparison stimuli were randomly generated to be 3.125, 6.25, 12.5, 25.0, 37.5, or 50.0 percent different from the sample. Subjects responded on left or right button manipulanda to identify the matching comparison stimulus. The nonmatching stimulus condition was maintained constant for a 60-sec component and the percentage difference of the nonmatching stimuli was systematically varied across multiple components. The effects of triazolam (2.25-9.0 μg/kg) and lorazepam (7.5-45 μg/kg) were examined in a within-subjects, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Under placebo conditions, response rates and accuracy were a positive function of the nonmatching stimulus discriminability. Triazolam produced dose-related decreases in response rate at nonmatching stimulus conditions ≥25%. Only the 9.0 μ/kg dose of triazolam decreased accuracy and this occured across all nonmatching stimulus conditions. Lorazepam effects were qualitatively similar but less robust than those of triazolam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-952
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Humans
  • Lorazepam
  • Matching-to-sample
  • Performance
  • Stimulus control Stimulus discrimination
  • Triazolam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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