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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Nov;201(1):29-41. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1244-2. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

The role of attentional bias in mediating human drug-seeking behaviour.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK. Lee.Hogarth@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

RATIONALE:

The attentional bias for drug cues is believed to be a causal cognitive process mediating human drug seeking and relapse.

OBJECTIVES, METHODS AND RESULTS:

To test this claim, we trained smokers on a tobacco conditioning procedure in which the conditioned stimulus (or S+) acquired parallel control of an attentional bias (measured with an eye tracker), tobacco expectancy and instrumental tobacco-seeking behaviour. Although this correlation between measures may be regarded as consistent with the claim that the attentional bias for the S+ mediated tobacco seeking, when a secondary task was added in the test phase, the attentional bias for the S+ was abolished, yet the control of tobacco expectancy and tobacco seeking remained intact.

CONCLUSIONS:

This dissociation suggests that the attentional bias for drug cues is not necessary for the control that drug cues exert over drug-seeking behaviour. The question raised by these data is what function does the attentional bias serve if it does not mediate drug seeking?

PMID:
18679657
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-008-1244-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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