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Investigating attentional bias in three differing alcohol consumption groups, and gender differentiation, utilising a visual dot probe

Wade, Lydia (2014) Investigating attentional bias in three differing alcohol consumption groups, and gender differentiation, utilising a visual dot probe. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Excessive alcohol consumption causes serious health problems. Research demonstrates that alcohol use is characterised by biases in the attentional processing of alcohol stimuli. This study investigated 97, 18-25 year olds from Manchester Metropolitan University. Participants were split into a low (1-10 units p/w), moderate (11-20 units p/w), and high (21-30 units p/w) drinking group according to their response to the weekly alcohol indicator. Participants completed a dot probe task to elicit attentional bias towards alcohol stimuli. Part 1 aimed to determine whether moderate and high drinkers display an attentional bias for alcohol stimuli. Part 2 aimed to determine whether females had a higher attentional bias than males, in the heavy drinking group. Results indicated that moderate and high drinkers displayed a significant attentional bias towards alcohol stimuli. However, a significant difference between male and female attentional bias index scores in the high drinking group was not identified. Findings support addiction theories, where attention gained by one stimulus decreases the attention to another. Findings from this study can notify health professionals that the focus of interventions needs to not only target heavy drinkers, but moderate drinkers as well in order to reduce the escalation of drinking behaviour.

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