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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1995 Aug;19(4):1043-7.

A test of Tiffany's cognitive model of drug urges and drug-use behavior.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Binghamton University, New York, USA.


Tiffany's (1990) cognitive model proposes that drug urges and drug use result from distinct (i.e., controlled versus automatic) cognitive processes. This study tested Tiffany's cognitive model utilizing innovative methods derived from the Multiple Resource Theory of cognitive psychology. Forty-two male and 42 female heavy drinking college students were assigned to 1 of 6 groups in two separate 1 (task) x 3 (treatment) factorial experiments in which half the subjects performed a math task while the other half performed a tracking task. Subjects received 1 of 3 treatments: Urge generation, "Drug" (Placebo) Consumption, or a Water control. The predictions were that urges would interfere with performance on the math task, and "drug" consumption would interfere with performance on the tracking task. The main dependent variables were measures of task performance. The results of this study do not clearly support the model; however, several suggestions for future tests of the cognitive model are discussed. Our findings highlight both the difficulty in testing the model, as well as opportunities for further integration of cognitive psychology and behavioral approaches to addictions.

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