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Title: The role of attentional bias in alcohol dependence
Author: Mann, Baljit
ISNI:       0000 0001 3618 1294
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2003
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Alcohol dependence is a condition that affects many people with wide-ranging detrimental effects. The literature review focuses on the main psychological theories of addiction that explain the development and maintenance of an addiction. One such theory is the incentive-sensitisation theory (Robinson & Berridge, 1993), which is a relatively recent model of addiction, and has provided a clear and testable hypothesis (i.e., attentional bias for drug-related cues) for the development of an addiction. Research into attentional bias in alcohol use appears to be in its infancy. Several studies have demonstrated the presence of an attentional bias for alcohol-dependent individuals and this provides some support for the incentive-sensitisation theory, but further research is required. Clinically, the research is beneficial as its informs understanding and therefore treatment of alcohol addiction. The empirical paper investigated hypotheses arising from the incentive-sensitisation theory. Attentional bias was assessed through the use of a pictorial visual probe task and a modified Stroop task. The results were mixed. Alcohol-dependent individuals took longer to colour-name and made more errors on alcohol-related words on the modified Stroop but not the visual probe task, compared to the control group. It was only on the pictorial visual probe task that those with a high urge to drink alcohol had greater attentional biases for alcohol-related stimuli than those with low urge and control group, and attentional bias did not predict dropout from treatment in alcohol- dependent individuals. This provides some support for the incentive-sensitisation mechanism suggested by Robinson and Berridge (1993), but further research is required to clarify the inconsistencies in results.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available