Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2017 May;43(3):332-340. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2016.1209511. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

Attentional bias toward alcohol-related stimuli in heavy drinkers: evidence from dynamic eye movement recording.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , Laurentian University , Sudbury , Ontario , Canada.
2
b École de psychologie, Université de Moncton , Moncton , New Brunswick , Canada.
3
c Department of Psychology , Dalhousie University , Halifax , Nova Scotia , Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has been proposed that attentional biases toward alcohol stimuli are contributing factors maintaining problematic drinking behavior.

OBJECTIVE:

The main goal of the present set of studies was to provide an examination of dynamic attentional mechanisms associated with alcohol consumption derived from eye movement monitoring.

METHOD:

Undergraduate students were recruited for two studies. In Experiment 1, 80 students were exposed to complex scenes (containing alcohol-related cues or not) viewed at a self-determined presentation rate. In Experiment 2, 80 students were exposed to the stimuli for a fixed presentation time and asked to memorize the photographs. In both studies, participants completed the Khavari Alcohol Test (KAT) to measure their drinking behaviors.

RESULTS:

Experiment 1 revealed that alcohol consumption was unrelated to eye movement measures on alcohol-related objects within pictures. However, results of Experiment 2 indicated that saccades into and out of the alcohol-related zones were more frequent as alcohol consumption increased. The time spent and the speed of the first fixation in the alcohol-related zone did not explain the variance in alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSION:

Attentional biases associated with alcohol consumption might be better understood in terms of dynamic attention mechanisms. More precisely, heavy drinker's attention seems to be constantly drawn back to alcohol-related objects once they are first fixated and when attention is enforced through other cognitive demands. From a clinical viewpoint, dynamic attentional biases might contribute to the development or maintenance of alcohol-related problems and this observation might help guide attention-based interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Attentional bias; alcohol consumption; alcohol cue; eye movements

PMID:
27712112
DOI:
10.1080/00952990.2016.1209511
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center