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Title: Semantic priming and verbal learning in current opiate users, ex-users and controls
Author: Battistella, S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis concerns how memory processes and biases may be implicated in substance dependence. The literature review begins by outlining different models of drug dependence and research into cognitive function in addiction. It then outlines the structure of long-term memory, before reviewing and discussing the implications of the limited evidence available for cognitive biases operating in semantic and episodic memory of individuals who are addicted. The review ends by discussing implications for future research and by suggesting additional paradigms that could be used to further investigate the role of memory in addiction. The empirical paper describes a study which investigated semantic priming and verbal learning in current opiate users on a methadone maintenance programme, ex opiate-users in rehabilitation and healthy non-using controls. It is one part of a joint project, the other part having been carried out by a fellow clinical psychology trainee who investigated response inhibition in the same sample population. Both current and ex-users showed preserved semantic priming. Ex-users showed a verbal learning impairment compared with controls, whilst both current and ex-users showed impairment in recalling semantically unrelated words, but intact recall of semantically related words. This may suggest a relative impairment in the ability of opiate users and ex-users to impose structure to unstructured information (e.g. use of mnemonic strategies) and a greater reliance on semantic memory when encoding new information. Providing opiate using clients with highly structured information may be beneficial to intervention. The critical appraisal gives a reflective account of the research process, the study and the treatment implications of the findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available