'Situational specificity of tolerance' not caffeine behind Four Loko's intoxicating effect

Washington, May 24 (ANI): A new study has dismissed previous claims that caffeine in the fruity alcoholic beverage, Four Loko, is responsible for the spike in alcohol-related hospitalizations.

"Four Loko didn't have the extraordinary intoxicating effect because of caffeine, but rather because of the phenomenon of situational specificity of tolerance", said Shepard Siegel of McMaster University.

The 'situational specificity of tolerance' implies that alcohol will have a greater effect if administered in the presence of unusual cues, rather than in familiar settings typically associated with the drug.

According to researchers, if someone continuously consumes a particular flavor mixed with alcohol, that person would eventually form a strong association between that flavor and the effects of alcohol.

This would cause him/her to build a tolerance and the beverage would no longer be exceptionally intoxicating.

"Four Loko's fruit flavor hasn't been previously paired with alcohol, and because that association between flavor and alcohol hasn't been made, greater intoxication may occur," said Siegel.

The study is published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. (ANI)