Activation response patterning, termed activation peaking, was examined to understand the effects of alcohol intoxication on complex information processing. A total of 23 men social drinkers were divided into alcohol and placebo groups: Ns = 10 and 13, respectively. The alcohol group was administered enough alcohol to obtain blood alcohol levels of at least 10 mg/dl. Heart rate and skin conductance was measured before and during paired-associate learning. Learning consisted of a random presentation of eight letter-word pairs followed by the presentation of letters only, with subjects required to remember the associated word. Results showed a clear pattern of peripheral activation related to verbal learning behavior in the alcohol group, with no differences between the groups in verbal learning performance.