My lab is devoted to understanding the biological and psychological characteristics of persons at risk for alcoholism. Alcohol addiction is a behavioral disorder with both genetic and environmental contributions. Persons with a positive family history of alcoholism are 4 – 6 times as likely to develop an alcohol use disorder as persons with no such history. Our guiding hypothesis is that a genetic predisposition toward alcohol and other substance-use disorders involves altered function of brain regions regulating reward motivation. We are studying four domains of function related to prefrontal cortex and limbic system regulation of motivated behavior: 1) Behavioral under control: the person's temperamental balance of positive to negative affect should be less stable and weighted toward dysphoria. 2) Cognitive processing on tests or working memory. 3) Decision-making during a reward based delay discounting calling for choices between immediate, but small rewards vs. waiting over a time delay to gain a larger reward. 4) Visceral responses to psychological stress using the stress hormone, cortisol, and autonomic control of the heart.