Reference : Time Course of Attention for Alcohol Cues in Abstinent Alcoholic Patients: The Role o...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Time Course of Attention for Alcohol Cues in Abstinent Alcoholic Patients: The Role of Initial Orienting
Noel, Xavier [ > > ]
Colmant, Maud [ > > ]
Van der Linden, Martial mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences cognitives > Psychopathologie cognitive >]
Bechara, Antoine [ > > ]
Bullens, Quentin mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de personne et société > Clinique systémique et psychopathologie relationnelle >]
Hanak, Catherine [ > > ]
Verbanck, Paul [ > > ]
Alcoholism, Clinical & Experimental Research
Blackwell Publishing
Yes (verified by ORBi)
United Kingdom
[en] Alcoholism ; Alcohol Cues ; Attention Biases ; Visual Probe Task
[en] Objective: Addicted people are characterized by enhanced attention for drug cues leading to drug
use. However, there is little research on the component processes of attention in individuals with
alcoholism. Here, we examine 2 distinct components of attention in abstinent alcohol-dependent
individuals and social drinkers of alcohol, that is to say, the initial orienting to alcohol-related cues,
and the maintenance of attention to them.
Method: The present study used an ‘‘alcohol’’ version of the visual probe detection task with
alcohol-related or neutral pictures being presented briefly (i.e., 50 ms), to assess initial orienting, or
longer (i.e., 500 and 1,250 ms), to assess the maintenance of attention.
Results: Only alcoholic patients were faster in detecting a probe displayed immediately after
pictures related to alcohol presented for 50 ms than in detecting the same probe replacing non–
alcohol-related pictures. However, when pictures were presented for 500 ms, only social alcohol
drinkers were faster in detecting the probe replacing alcohol scenes. At a stimulus of 1,250 ms duration,
no group showed attentional bias toward alcohol cues. In addition, the severity of alcoholism
measured by the total number of prior detoxification treatments was positively correlated with the
attentional bias (or ‘‘attraction’’) for alcohol pictures presented for 50 ms.
Conclusions: These results show that, subsequent to initial visual orienting to alcohol-related cues,
abstinent patients’ attention was disengaged from these stimuli, thus suggesting a visual approachdisengagement
attentional pattern. The influence of these findings on relapse was discussed.

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