Muscle memory (also referred to as "motor memories") is a form of procedural memory, which is a form of implicit memory. I'm particularly interested in trained tasks like throwing a dart, shooting a ball in foosball, or touch typing, which as far as I understand could be considered muscle memory.
Studies seem to have shown that alcohol has no significant effect on implicit memory.
Hashtroudi, Parker, DeLisi, Wyatt, and Mutter (1984) studied the effects of alcohol on implicit and explicit memory. Ninety-six male volunteers between the ages of 21 and 35 were recruited for the all-day experiment (they were kept at the lab until their blood alcohol returned to zero). The researchers found that alcohol intoxication had effects similar to brain injury. It damaged explicit memory but not implicit memory.
While retrieval of explicit memory is severely impaired by alcohol, retrieval of implicit memory is not. (Nelson, T. et al. 1986)
From a later study by Lister, R. G. et al. (1991)
[...] no impairment was observed if memory for the same material was assessed implicitly using a backwards-reading or word-completion task.
I was wondering whether any studies have been done which investigate the effects of alcohol on muscle memory specifically. Possible measures could be the speed of the executed motion, and its accuracy. The methodology followed could be along the lines of:
- A task has been practiced. (on an 'expert' level, where the motion becomes unconscious)
- Measure performance.
- Drink alcohol.
- Measure performance under second condition.
Hashtroudi, S., Parker, E. S., DeLisi, L. E., Wyatt, R. J., & Mutter, S. A. (1984). Intact retention in acute alcohol amnesia. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 10(1), 156.
Nelson, T., McSpadden, M., Fromme, K., & Marlatt, G. (1986). Effects of Alcohol Intoxication on Metamemory and on Retrieval from Long-Term Memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 115(3), 247-254.
Lister, R. G., Gorenstein, C., Risher-Flowers, D., Weingartner, H. J., & Eckardt, M. J. (1991). Dissociation of the acute effects of alcohol on implicit and explicit memory processes. Neuropsychologia, 29(12), 1205-1212.