Generality of impairment in performance on abstracting tasks was investigated in male chronic alcoholics. Compared to a group of 26 matched hospital controls, the alcoholics performed significantly poorer on the Halstead Category test (P < 0.05) but not on the Shipley-Hartford verbal abstracting test or the Embedded Figures test. A second group of alcoholics (N = 37) also performed significantly poorer than controls (N = 31) on set I and II of the Advanced Raven's Progressive Matrices (P < 0.01). Alcoholics appear to exhibit a specific deficit on tasks involving visual spatial abstracting behavior and temporal or spatial integration. Neuropsychological hypotheses are advanced to account for this deficit.