We examined abnormalities in physiological responses to emotional stimuli associated with long-term chronic alcoholism. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and heart rate (HR) responses were measured in 32 abstinent alcoholic (ALC) and 30 healthy nonalcoholic (NC) men and women undergoing an emotional memory task in an MRI scanner. The task required participants to remember the identity of two emotionally-valenced faces presented at the onset of each trial during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning. After viewing the faces, participants saw a distractor image (an alcoholic beverage, nonalcoholic beverage, or scrambled image) followed by a single probe face. The task was to decide whether the probe face matched one of the two encoded faces. Skin conductance measurements (before and after the encoded faces, distractor, and probe) were obtained from electrodes on the index and middle fingers on the left hand. HR measurements (beats per minute before and after the encoded faces, distractor, and probe) were obtained by a pulse oximeter placed on the little finger on the left hand. We expected that, relative to NC participants, the ALC participants would show reduced SCR and HR responses to the face stimuli, and that we would identify greater reactivity to the alcoholic beverage stimuli than to the distractor stimuli unrelated to alcohol. While the beverage type did not differentiate the groups, the ALC group did have reduced skin conductance and HR responses to elements of the task, as compared to the NC group.