RIA's Quigley Receives $387,000 Grant From NIAAA to Study Link between Alcohol and Aggressive Thinking

By Kathleen Weaver

Release Date: May 16, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions has received a Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study the relationship between alcohol and aggressive thinking.

The $387,000 grant to Brian M. Quigley, Ph.D., a research scientist at RIA, also will provide him with the opportunity for career-development activities in cognitive psychology and the ways in which the brain processes and stores information.

In the first phase of his study, Quigley will examine how people's beliefs about alcohol affect their behavior. This part of the study will include interviews with 270 individuals between the ages of 21 and 35.

"People associate alcohol and alcohol use with many things such as relaxation, sociability and violent behavior," Quigley explained.

"For instance, some individuals may have experienced violence associated with drinking alcohol in a bar environment. Does this cause them to be more likely to think about violence when they drink alcohol in bars in the future? Others may associate drinking beer with football or other sporting events. Does this then make them more likely to think about violence when they drink beer in another situation? These are some of the issues under consideration in the first part of the study."

The second phase of Quigley's research will examine 210 individuals identified as associating alcohol with aggression.

"Because intoxication interferes with cognitive processing," he added, "it reduces people's ability to shift their attention from one thing to another. So, if people already possess a mental link between alcohol and aggression, will they more readily turn to aggressive thinking than someone without that prior link, when given alcohol to drink? That is the question I hope to answer."

Quigley has been with the RIA since 1995, first as a postdoctoral research associate and then as a project director before being named a research scientist. He earned his doctorate in social psychology at the University at Albany.

Kenneth E. Leonard, Ph.D., RIA senior research scientist, will act as Quigley's mentor on the study. Leonard is an internationally recognized addictions scholar, as well as director of the Division of Psychology within the Department of Psychiatry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The Research Institute on Addictions has been a leader in the study of addictions since 1970 and a UB research center since 1999.