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Addict Behav. 2011 Oct;36(10):1019-22. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 May 30.

Alcohol, violence, and the Alcohol Myopia Model: preliminary findings and implications for prevention.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, USA.


This experiment provided a preliminary test of whether the Alcohol Myopia Model (AMM; Steele & Josephs, 1990) would provide a guiding framework for the prevention of alcohol-related violence. The model contends that alcohol has a "myopic" effect on attentional capacity that presumably facilitates violence by focusing attention onto more salient provocative, rather than less salient inhibitory, cues in hostile situations. Participants were 16 intoxicated male social drinkers who completed a laboratory task in which electric shocks were received from, and administered to, a fictitious opponent under the guise of a competitive reaction-time task while they were exposed to either violence-promoting (n=8) or violence-inhibiting (n=8) cues. Aggression was operationalized as the intensity and duration of shocks administered by the participant to his "opponent." Despite being equally intoxicated, participants exposed to violence-inhibiting cues were dramatically less aggressive (d=1.65) than those exposed to the violence-promoting cues. Our data suggest that the AMM holds a great deal of promise to help develop effective prevention interventions for alcohol-related violence.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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