Publication

Attentional bias for alcohol cues in visual search—Increased engagement, difficulty to disengage or both?

Heitmann, J., Jonker, N., Ostafin, B. & Jong, de, P., 27-Jan-2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 1, e0228272.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Cognitive models emphasise the importance of attentional bias in addiction. However, many
attentional bias tasks have been criticised for questionable psychometric properties and
inability to differentiate between engagement and disengagement processes. This study
therefore examined the suitability of two alternative tasks for assessing attentional bias
within the context of alcohol use. Participants were undergraduate students (N = 169) who
completed the Visual Search Task and Odd-One-Out Task, the latter of which is designed to
differentiate between engagement and disengagement processes of attention, at baseline
and one week later. Participants also completed baseline measures of alcohol consumption,
craving, and alcohol use problems. Internal consistency was adequate for the Visual Search
Task index, and weak for the Odd-One-Out Task indices. Test-retest reliability was weak for both tasks. The Visual Search Task index and the disengagement (but not the engagement) index of the Odd-One-Out Task showed a positive association with alcohol consumption. This study was restricted to a non-clinical student sample. The relatively high error rate of the Odd-One-Out Task might have reduced its sensitivity as an index of attentional bias. Both tasks showed some merit as attentional bias measures, and results suggested that attentional disengagement might be articularly related to alcohol use. However, the reliability of the current measures was inadequate. One potential xplanation for the low reliability is that non-clinical samples may have weak and unstable attentional biases to alcohol.
Future efforts should be made to improve the psychometric qualities of both tasks and to administer them in a clinical sample.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228272
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27-Jan-2020

    Keywords

  • INTERNAL RELIABILITY, PROBLEMATIC DRINKERS, ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS, SPEEDED DETECTION, COGNITIVE BIASES, ADOLESCENTS, IMPLICIT, STIMULI, ANXIETY, GENDER

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