Alcohol Words Elicit Reactive Cognitive Control In Low-Sensitivity Drinkers
Previous ERP studies shown support for the idea that alcohol‐related stimuli are particularly salient to individuals who report low sensitivity (LS) to alcohol's effects (a known risk factor for alcohol‐related problems), leading such stimuli to spontaneously capture their attention and interfere with self‐regulatory goal pursuit. The current study investigated LS individuals' use of reactive and proactive cognitive control in response to alcohol‐related stimuli. Participants performed an alcohol Stroop task in which they indicated the font color of alcohol‐ and nonalcohol‐related words while ERPs were recorded. The probability of alcohol and nonalcohol words was manipulated to test predictions derived from Dual Mechanisms of Control theory. Among LS individuals, infrequent alcohol‐related words elicited slower responses and larger N2 amplitude, consistent with these stimuli eliciting enhanced reactive control responses. Amplitude of the frontal slow wave (FSW) component, associated with proactive control, was marginally larger among LS individuals when alcohol words were more frequent, but response accuracy was lower. These findings demonstrate that LS individuals experience conflict when presented with task‐irrelevant alcohol‐related stimuli, even in a context where conflict arguably should not be present. Findings further suggest that LS individuals can effectively implement reactive control to deal with this conflict when it is infrequent but have difficulty implementing proactive control in the context of more frequent conflict.
Bailey, Kira and Bartholow, Bruce, "Alcohol Words Elicit Reactive Cognitive Control In Low-Sensitivity Drinkers" (2016). Psychology Faculty Work. 30.
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