Heavy drinking, impulsivity and attentional narrowing following alcohol cue exposure
Research shows that alcohol-related stimuli have the propensity to capture attention among individuals motivated to consume alcohol. Research has further demonstrated that impulsive individuals are especially prone to this type of attentional bias. Recently, it is suggested that alcohol cue exposure can also produce a general narrowing of attention consistent with the activation of approach motivational states.
Based on previous models of addiction and recent research on the activation of approach motivational states, we predicted that impulsive individuals would demonstrate a constriction of attentional focus in response to alcohol cue exposure.
Participants (n = 392) completed a task assessing attentional breadth in response to alcohol and non-alcohol cues, followed by measures of alcohol use and impulsivity.
The findings revealed that impulsivity scores predicted narrowing of attentional scope following the presentation of alcohol cues for heavier drinkers but not for light drinkers.
These results suggest that impulsive individuals who drink more heavily demonstrate a narrowing of attention in the presence of alcohol-related incentive cues. Implications for how these findings might account for the link between impulsivity and alcohol use and misuse are discussed.
KeywordsAlcohol myopia Motivational intensity Impulsivity Approach motivation Attentional scope Attentional bias
- Carver CS, White TL (1994) Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: the BIS/BAS scales. J PersSocPsychol 67:319–333Google Scholar
- Dawe S, Loxton NJ (2004) The role of impulsivity in the development of substance use and eating disorders. NeurosciBiobehavR 28:343–351Google Scholar
- Fazio RH (1990) A practical guide to the use of response latencies in social psychological research. In: Hendrick C, Clark MS (Eds) Review of personality and social psychology, vol 11.Sage, Newbury Park, CA, pp74-97Google Scholar
- Field M, Mogg K, Bradley BP (2006) Attention to drug-related cues in drug abuse and addiction: component processes. In:Wiers RW, Stacy AW (Eds) Handbook of implicit cognition and addiction. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp 45–57Google Scholar
- Förster J, Dannenberg L (2010) GLOMOsys: a systems account of global versus local processing. PsycholInq 21:175–197Google Scholar
- Gable PA, Harmon-Jones E (2008) Approach-motivated positive affect reduces breadth of attention. PsycholSci 19:476–482Google Scholar
- International Society for Research on Impulsivity (2014) International Society for Research on Impulsivity. http://www.impulsivity.org/. Accessed 21 Oct 2014
- Madden GJ, Bickel WK (2010) Impulsivity: the behavioral and neurological science of discounting.Google Scholar
- Robinson MD (2007) Lives lived in milliseconds: using cognitive methods in personality research. In: Fraley RC, Krueger R, Robins RW (eds) Handbook of research methods in personality psychology. Guilford press, New York, pp 345–359Google Scholar