DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Underage and binge drinking (i.e., drinking to intoxication) are serious public health problems. The harms and hazards associated with excessive alcohol use in young people begs the question of what unexamined factors may be contributing to the problem. One possible variable that may be contributing to excessive drinking in young people is the new trend of consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED). Despite a dramatic increase in the use of AmED in young people, little laboratory research has examined how these drinks alter objective and subjective measures of intoxication. The working hypothesis of this proposal is that there are two key reasons that explain why consumption of AmED may be riskier than alcohol consumption alone. First, consumption of AmED enhances the desire to drink alcohol. Elevated levels of desire to drink alcohol following AmED consumption may lead to risks that are both immediate (e.g., binge drinking) and long-term (e.g., alcohol dependence). Second, consumption of AmED leads to disconnect between subjective state and actual behavioral impairment. Decreased perceived intoxication, impairment, and sedation have been observed for AmED as compared to alcohol alone. However, most behavioral impairments are equally evident in response to AmED consumption as they are to alcohol alone. This disconnect between subjective state and actual behavioral impairment may explain many immediate risks of AmED use including heightened rates of accidents experienced by AmED consumers (as compared to alcohol alone consumers). This research will examine the acute effects of alcohol, energy drinks, AmED or a placebo beverage in social drinkers using laboratory-based methods. The effects of these beverages will be determined by performance on tasks that measure cognition, motor control, and the subjective effects of alcohol. The specific aims of the proposed research are: 1) to determine whether the consumption of AmED leads to more drinking when compared with the consumption of alcohol alone, particularly in novice drinkers, and 2) to examine the disconnect between cognitive impairment, motor impairment, and subjective state for AmED as compared to alcohol alone. For both aims, novice drinkers will be compared to more experienced drinkers. Novice drinkers are considered to be a high risk population as they have less experience with alcohol and thus are less tolerant to alcohol. It is predicted that the differences between AmED and alcohol alone may be more pronounced in novice drinkers, since novice drinkers typically experience more sedative effects from alcohol. The results of these studies should elucidate how and why AmED may be riskier than alcohol alone. Consistent with AREA program objectives, this work will also expand undergraduate student research in human psychopharmacology and better enable students from Kentucky, a state traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences, to successfully advance in biomedical graduate programs.