Field, Matt, Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Brendan P.
Alcohol increases cognitive biases for smoking cues in smokers.
Psychopharmacology, 180, (1), . (doi:10.1007/s00213-005-2251-1).
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Rationale: Alcohol increases the motivation to smoke, possibly because it increases the incentive motivational properties of smoking cues.
Objectives: We examined whether alcohol would increase attentional, approach, and evaluative biases for smoking-related cues in a sample of daily cigarette smokers.
Methods: The study used a visual probe task with eye movement recording to investigate biases in visual orienting to smoking-related cues. A stimulus–response compatibility task was used to assess approach tendencies for smoking-related cues, and an explicit rating task was used to assess the perceived valence of smoking-related cues. Participants completed the tasks in two sessions, once after consumption of 0.4 g/kg alcohol and once after consumption of a non-alcoholic drink.
Results: Alcohol increased the maintenance of attention on smoking cues (evident from gaze duration and a reaction time index of attentional bias), the perceived pleasantness of smoking cues, and cigarette craving, relative to the non-alcoholic drink. However, alcohol had no effect on the initial shifting of gaze to smoking cues or on the tendency to approach smoking cues.
Conclusions: These results suggest that, in smokers, ingestion of a moderate dose of alcohol increases the propensity for smoking-related cues to hold attention and makes those cues seem more attractive, which is consistent with alcohol increasing the 'incentive salience' of smoking cues.
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