ABSTRACT: Low sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol is a risk factor for heavy drinking and related problems. However, little research has tested process explanations for such effects. The current study tested the hypothesis that low sensitivity is associated with automatic approach biases for alcohol cues, coupled with deficits inhibiting responses in the presence of such cues. Eighty-five participants varying in alcohol sensitivity completed an Alcohol-Approach Avoidance Task and a Cued Go/No-Go Task while event-related potentials were recorded. Low sensitivity (LS) individuals showed evidence of automatic approach tendencies toward alcohol cues in both tasks, and experienced deficits inhibiting prepotent responses cued by alcohol images. Additionally, the event-related potential data indicated that LS individuals experienced more conflict when attempting to inhibit alcohol-cued responses, but not nonalcohol-cued responses, compared with their high-sensitivity counterparts. Together, these data indicate that alcohol cues elicit an approach bias among LS individuals, translating into greater difficulty inhibiting behavioral responses in the presence of such cues, a pattern generally supportive of dual process models of substance use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 02/2013; · 2.09 Impact Factor