Where’s that wine? A pre-registered study assessing the utility of visual search to measure alcohol-related attentional bias.

Charlotte Rebecca Pennington, Daniel Joel Shaw, Jennifer Adams, Phoebe Kavanagh, Holly Reed, Madeleine Robinson, Emily Shave, Hollie White

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Background & Aims: Experimental research consistently shows that individuals who regularly consume alcohol prioritise their attention towards alcohol-related cues. Many tasks that measure alcohol-related attentional bias (AB), however, are limited by their low internal reliability and the artificial manner in which stimuli are shown. In a bid to overcome these limitations, the current study employed a visual search paradigm to examine whether heavy social drinkers exhibit AB towards alcoholic relative to non-alcoholic stimuli. It also assessed whether self-reported alcohol consumption, drinking motives or subjective craving predicted alcohol-related AB. Method: Ninety-nine participants (Mage = 20.77, MAUDIT= 12.89) completed a Visual Conjunction Search Task in which they were instructed to identify alcoholic (wine, beer) or non-alcoholic (lemonade, cola) targets in an array of matching and mismatching distractors. They also completed questionnaires probing their alcohol consumption behaviours. Findings: Participants were significantly faster to detect alcoholic relative to non-alcoholic targets, which was predicted by self-reported alcohol consumption and related behaviours (AUDIT scores). Subjective craving and drinking motives did not significantly account for additional explained variance. Conclusions: Alcohol-related stimuli capture heavy social drinker’s attention, which may present as a risk factor for continued (mis)use. Visual search paradigms appear to offer a highly reliable assessment of alcohol-related AB over other experimental paradigms in alcohol research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2020
EventEarly Career Alcohol Research Symposium, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group -
Duration: 7 Jul 20208 Jul 2020

Conference

ConferenceEarly Career Alcohol Research Symposium, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group
Abbreviated titleECARS 2020
Period7/07/208/07/20

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • visual search
  • attentional bias
  • drinking motives
  • subjective cravings

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    Pennington, C. R., Shaw, D. J., Adams, J., Kavanagh, P., Reed, H., Robinson, M., Shave, E., & White, H. (2020). Where’s that wine? A pre-registered study assessing the utility of visual search to measure alcohol-related attentional bias.. Abstract from Early Career Alcohol Research Symposium, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, .