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Georgia psychologist's research could help prevent underage DUI

Students at the University of Georgia could be unconsciously calculating the benefits verses the potential costs of drinking and driving. Those costs, unfortunately, do not involve the consideration of spending time in jail after getting convicted of underage DUI. Rather, they involve the actual expenses forpurchasing the alcohol.

According to a psychology professor at UGA, the cost of buying alcohol affects how much individuals decide to consume. The professor led a study that analyzed the way human brains make decisions about how much alcohol to consume. The study found that the more expensive the alcohol, the less alcohol test subjects tended to drink.

The professor and his team identified parts of the brain that were activated while the subjects made the decision to drink more or to stop. When the cost of the alcohol stopped being a factor, a specific area of the brain was activated and participants tended to drink more. Conversely, when cost became a factor, another part of the brain showed activity in subjects and they drank less.

One day, after further study, psychological researchers at the University of Georgia may be able to use this information to help students make better decisions while drinking. This could, in turn, help to prevent instances of underage DUI. Indeed, both the risk of physical injury and legal punishment are severe for individuals who engage in this activity.

Anyone who has been arrested on underage DUI charges may be able to improve their legal situation dramatically during their legal defense. Different strategies are available, such as challenging the facts and/or evidence offered against them by prosecutors. In some cases, for example, a Breathalyzer test result may be shown to be inaccurate and inadmissible for use as evidence in a criminal courtroom.

Source: redandblack.com, "Booze prices alter drinking pros, cons", Helena Joseph, April 5, 2014