Field, Matt, Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Brendan P.
Craving and cognitive biases for alcohol cues in social drinkers
Alcohol and Alcoholism, 40, (6), . (doi:10.1093/alcalc/agh213).
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Aims: To assess whether cognitive biases for drug-related cues are associated with subjective craving and behavioural indices of drug-seeking behaviour, as predicted by incentive models of addiction.
Methods: Fifty social drinkers took part in a laboratory study in which their subjective craving and cognitive biases for alcohol cues were assessed, before they completed a progressive ratio operant task for alcohol (beer) reinforcement.
Results: Social drinkers with high levels of alcohol craving at the beginning of the experiment had more pronounced attentional, approach, and evaluative biases for alcohol cues, compared with those with low craving. There were also trends for the high craving group to show greater operant responding for beer reinforcement, but the latter findings were inconclusive, and no evidence was found of associations between the operant responding and cognitive bias measures.
Conclusions: The finding of a relationship between subjective craving and cognitive biases for alcohol cues is consistent with incentive models of addiction. Methodological factors may have obscured the predicted relationships between cognitive bias and operant performance, such as the use of a specific reinforcer (beer) during the operant task, while a range of alcohol-related cues were used in the cognitive bias tasks.
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